Bulldogs on a boat

  • Written by Bob McParland

Richards students live on sailboat for eight days

Fall classes have started, and if Allison Lively, Angeles Ochoa-Raya and Dan Schwarz long for the summer everyone would understand.

The three U.S. Navy JROTC students from Richards High School lived for eight days aboard a 50-foot sailboat in the British Virgin Islands this summer.
With the Caribbean Sea as their classroom, Lively, Ochoa-Raya and Schwarz earned certification as senior crewmen. They were among a handful of JROTC students from around the United States to complete the course, titled LeaderSail.
Students also participated in safety drills. The course concluded with a capstone written test and a four-hour race with the crews of other LeaderSail boats.
The U.S. Naval Sailing Association sponsors LeaderSail as a leadership development program built around sail training and marine exploration.
“It was a different kind of leadership and teamwork experience,” said Ochoa-Raya, the student commander of the JROTC program (Bulldog Company) this year. “I learned how to organize a prep pod for sailing, including how to operate the engine, check the oil, and work the main (sail) and jib.”
“I truly enjoyed the family-like atmosphere and all the fun we had aboard the Bella Christine. I learned how to trust people I had never met before,” Lively said.
Students learned all the basic elements of sailing, they snorkeled the coral reefs, they cooked the meals and took turns standing watch for four-hour shifts at night.
“I went from not knowing anything to racing a huge sailboat on the last day,” Schwarz said.
The three said they would definitely recommend the experience to others.
“It was worth every penny. I can’t wait to go next year,” Schwarz said. “I want to help new cadets that don’t know anything about sailing, just like how I was in the beginning.”

“It was an amazing trip. Though it was a learning experience it was also relaxing. It was a great balance of going on vacation and learning something new,” said Ochoa-Raya.
Lively placed LeaderSail atop anything else she’s ever done. “It was the best experience of my life so far,” she said.

Bulletin Board from 9-18-14

Academy of Our Lady
Academy Of Our Lady/Longwood Alumnae Plan Reunion 2014
  Those who graduated from the Academy of Our Lady/Longwood High School in a year ending in 4 or 9 will receive a special salute at the Academy of Our Lady Alumnae Association’s all-school reunion from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Hilton Oak Lawn, 9333 S. Cicero Ave.
  Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres will be served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (cash bar). Tickets are $50 ($55 after Oct. 13). Proceeds will assist the Alumnae Office. Photos of milestone-anniversary classes will be taken and may be ordered. A.O.L. memorabilia will be available for purchase.
  Earlier in the day, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, alumnae may visit the Academy of Our Lady former campus, now the Chicago International Charter School, Longwood campus, for a prayer service at the Lourdes Grotto followed by a tour of the school buildings. Alumni should enter at Loomis Street, just south of 95th Street.
  Reservations are required for the evening reunion, but not for the campus visit. Members of five-year-anniversary classes have received reunion invitation letters and reservation forms. Other alumnae may use a reservation coupon included in the summer Longwood Update newsletter. For more information, call the Academy of Our Lady Alumnae Office at 773-445-2300, or visit the website,
  Alumnae who wish to take advantage of a group rate of $129 plus tax, single or double, for Reunion 2014 guest rooms at the Hilton Oak Lawn may access a link on the Academy of Our Lady website, or call Hilton reservations at 800-315-1058 before Sept. 26. Mention the Academy of Our Lady High School Reunion on Oct. 18. The Hilton’s phone number is 708-425-7800.
  Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1874 as a Catholic school for girls, the Academy of Our Lady/Longwood closed in 1999. The goal of the Academy of Our Lady Alumnae Association is to foster support of current School Sisters of Notre Dame ministries and to keep Longwood’s spirit alive among its alumnae.

Bogan High School
  The Bogan High School Class of 1974 is hosting a reunion from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park. Appetizers and an open bar will be available. For more information check the reunion website at, or contact Laura Thorp O’Connor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chicago Christian
  Chicago Christian High School, 12001 S. Oak Park Ave., Palos Heights, will host an open house Sunday, Oct. 12, beginning at 1:45 pm.
  Families interested in Chicago Christian can attend the open house and receive information about the counseling department, learning assistance, tuition and tuition assistance, the athletic programs, curriculum, our Project Lead the Way STEM classes, co-curricular activities, and a question and answer session with principal, Bob Payne. Faculty and coaches will also be on hand.
  Information regarding our seventh grade Step-Up program, shadow days, and Knight Hoops basketball program will also be available this day.
  Chicago Christian High School, 12001 S. Oak Park Ave., Palos Heights, will be hosting an event for alumni and their families.
  It takes place starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 where Chicago Christian High School will be hosting an alumni tent for the homecoming football game. The alumni tent will be set up behind the end zone for all alumni and their families. There is no cost for admission to the tent. Chicago Christian will also be giving away an autographed Chicago Bear Jared Allen football.
  For more information on either of these events, contact Tim Schnyders at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Governors State
  The Chicago Southland Graduate Fair is an opportunity to learn about graduate school programs and opportunities offered by colleges and universities from the region and the nation. The fair takes place Thursday, Oct. 1, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park.
  More than 35 graduate schools will have information available on their programs, admission process, and financial aid and scholarship opportunities. The Chicago Southland Graduate Fair is free and open to the public. Advance registration is not necessary.
  For more information, call 534-4490.
Governors State University Addiction Studies Alumni Club to Host Recovery Walk
  In celebration of National Recovery Month, the Governors State University Addictions Studies Alumni Club will sponsor their third annual Walk for Recovery Saturday, Sept. 20 at Governors State University, 1 University parkway, University Park.
  This free event begins with registration from 8 to 9 a.m., followed by a program at 9 a.m. The two or three-mile walk will commence at 10 a.m. In addition, a resource fair will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.
  Featured at the 9 a.m. program will be the following speakers:
  • Peter Palanca, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, who will serve as master of ceremonies;
  • Mark Sanders, chief executive officer of On the Mark Consulting; and
  • Comedian Jay Washington.
  The Walk for Recovery is designed to honor individuals in recovery or who are seeking recovery. The event also celebrates the treatment and support service providers who are committed to helping them, and to increasing awareness surrounding addiction issues.
  The event will also feature door prizes, refreshments, music and entertainment. This event is sponsored by, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, the Illinois Certification Board; Handwritten Greetings, Inc., Aurelio’s Pizza Crete, Chicago Dough Company, Starbucks Homewood and Sunrise Greenhouses.
  Those who register online at will be entered in for a special door prize.
  Additional information may be obtained by calling GSU Alumni Relations at 534-7892.

Governors State University welcomes co-host of Democracy Now for Keynote Address
  He’s sat down with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; authored three books and spent his more than 30-year career as a crusader for racial equality in journalism.
  Governors State University will welcome the co-host of Democracy Now and New York Daily News columnist, Juan Gonzalez, to deliver the keynote address at the Midwest History Association Conference at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 in Sherman Hall. This event, though part of a conference, is free and open to the public.

Moraine Valley
  Comic books, gaming and pop culture will rule at Moraine Valley Community College’s Graphic Novel Symposium today, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Most events will take place in the library, on the second floor of Building L, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills. The symposium is free and open to the public.
  Over two days, symposium participants can play games and learn about gaming, engage in costume play, buy comics and other gaming items, and attend faculty lectures.
  The symposium kicks off today with two featured speakers in the Library Lounge. Erik LaGattuta, professor of Fine Arts, will present, Comic Books and the Art of Visual Story Telling, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and Sheryl Bundy, professor of Communications and Literature, will follow with, Graphic Novels as Literature, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.
  The Comic Shop Fair will be open throughout the symposium. Chimera’s Comics and Tenth Planet, both from Oak Lawn, and Amazing Fantasy Books & Comics, from Tinley Park, will set up shop outside the library to sell comics, games, figures, and other items.
  Moraine Valley’s Student Life Office and the student Anime Club are hosting a costume play contest Thursday at 3 p.m., in Building U. Entrants should dress as a favorite comic, superhero or sci-fi character from movies, TV shows and comic books. The sign-up for the costume play will be from noon to 2 p.m. outside the library. Rules for costumes and the contest can be found on the website:
  Gaming is the focus on Friday. Jason King, professor of Developmental Education and Geography, will present Gaming and Learning from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the Library Lounge. The library also will have six strategy board games set up to play: Ticket to Ride, Carcassone, The Settlers of Catan, Tsuro—the Game of Path, Blokus, and Hey, That’s My Fish. Anyone is welcome to walk up and play, or reserve a time slot with friends. Information about the games and reservations for time slots can be found on the web site:

Employers Needed For Moraine Valley Fall Job And Internship Fair
  Employers from all industries who have position openings are needed for Moraine Valley Community College’s Fall Job and Internship Fair Thursday, Oct. 16, from 2 to 5 p.m.
  The fair will be in the Moraine Business and Conference Center, Building M, on campus, 9000 W. College Pkwy., Palos Hills. Employer check-in is at noon, and the employer luncheon is at 12:30 p.m.
  The Fall Job and Internship Fair is a prime opportunity for employers to recruit diverse students, alumni and community members to fulfill employment needs, including hourly or salary jobs, and paid or non-paid internships. Commission-only positions and undisclosed third party recruiting will not be included.
  The registration fee is $100 for a six-foot table and lunch for two recruiters. Registration forms and payment are due by Friday, Oct. 3. The form can be downloaded from the college’s website at Space is limited.
  For more information about the fair or other events, call the Job Resource Center at 974-5313, or visit the website.

Moraine Valley Accepting Business Champion Award Nominations
  Moraine Valley Community College’s Corporate, Community and Continuing Education subdivision is seeking nominations for its 2014 Business Champion Awards. Nominations are being accepted through Monday, Sept. 1 for awards in the following categories:
  • Training and Development—businesses that make a significant investment in their workforce by encouraging lifelong learning.
  • Sustainability—businesses committed to reducing their ecological footprint by incorporating environmentally sustainable practices.
  • Excellence in Government—a leader who demonstrates the foresight to create a healthy community.
  • Philanthropy—a business or individual who demonstrates outstanding philanthropic contributions.
  • Entrepreneur/Small Business Person of the Year—individuals or no more than three partners who operate a small business with a two-year track record and show continued growth.
  • Women in Business/Leadership Award—a leading woman of influence in business with five to 10 years of professional experience.
  • Innovation—Compelling idea, product or service that demonstrates significant benefit to users and addresses market needs.
  • Individuals and businesses can be nominated for as many award categories for which they qualify, but they can only win in one category. Entries must include a nomination form, a short biography, and a brief description of the business or individual and why they are being nominated. Self-nominations are accepted.
  The awards will be presented at the 19th annual Business Champion Awards—Stars of the Southwest Suburbs on Thursday, Nov. 6, in the college’s Moraine Business and Conference Center. The program recognizes the valuable contributions businesses and their advocates make to the economic development of Chicago’s southwest suburbs.
  Nomination forms can be downloaded at For more information or to submit a nomination, call Sue Ryerson at 974-5433, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Oak Lawn
  Oak Lawn Community High School has added a new position to its administration this year: the director of Supervision, Intervention and Enrichment. Chris Newton, formerly of the math department, has been appointed to this position.
  Newton will provide leadership and direction according to the school’s mission, vision, and values statement and conduct a wide range of activities including: leadership, coordination and oversight of the revised certificated staff evaluation plan; completion of certificated staff evaluations, including the incorporation of student learning growth as a significant component of the evaluation process; and leadership, coordination, and oversight of a comprehensive and systematic student intervention program.

St. Xavier University
SXU To Host 14th Annual Cougar 5k Run/Walk During 2014 Homecoming Celebration
  Saint Xavier University will host the 14th annual Cougar 5K Run/Walk during its 2014 Homecoming Week at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27. The race begins and ends at SXU’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St, and travels through Evergreen Park.
  Pre-registration is $30 for runners/walkers, and $25 for SXU students. Prices increase to $35 for runners/walkers and $30 for SXU students on race day. The Cougar 5K is bringing back the family rate, which costs $75 for two adults and one child age 17 or younger from the same immediate family. Each additional child is $20. Family rate registration is not available on race day. For more information, or to register for the event, visit, keyword: cougar 5k, or call the race hotline at (773)-298-3592.
  All participants will receive a white cotton long-sleeve Cougar 5K shirt. Participants that register before Wednesday, Sept. 10, have the option to purchase a white dry-tech long-sleeve Cougar 5K shirt for an additional $5 instead of the white cotton shirt.
  Participants can receive tickets to the homecoming football game at 1 p.m., where they can watch Saint Xavier University take on University of Saint Francis. Tickets can be picked up at the gear check area between 7 and 11 a.m. on race day.
  New this year, prize money will be awarded to the top three overall male and female runners, and is sponsored by the Mid American Group. First place overall male/female wins $150 each, second place overall male/female wins $100 each, and third place overall male/female wins $50 each. Also, the runner who breaks the current male or female record will win the Mid American Group Record Breaking $100 award. Males must break 15:41 and females must break 19:54.
  Some of the Cougar 5K highlights include post-race massages and stretching, blood pressure checks, children’s activities, performance from the university band, visits from the cougar mascot and refreshments from the following sponsors: Chartwells bagels, muffins and fruit, Jimmy Johns cookies, Barraco’s Pizza, Mariano’s string cheese, Culvers fresh frozen custard, Aquafina Water and Propel Flavored Water.

  Cougar 5K sponsors include Presenting Sponsor Meijer, Mid-American Group, Gallagher Investments, Accelerated Rehab, Go Promotions, Lakeshore Brewing, Matrix Fitness Equipment, Running for Kicks, Sports and Ortho, Wishfit Study, Core Fitness and Physical Therapy, Gilhooley’s. Aquafina, Jimmy Johns, Barraco’s Pizza, Beverly Review, McDonalds, Saint Xavier University Alumni and Parent Relations, Village of Evergreen Park, Jackson Capital and Shannon Center Member.

Richards run to help the Treasure Chest Foundation

  • Written by Bob McParland

Colleen Kisel knew she couldDR-Page-9-RICHARDS-5K-hlrRunWithDogs14Colleen Kisel, the founder of Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, appears with Richards High School physical education teacher Bob Peck. Richards will sponsor a 5K, Running with the Bulldogs, on at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 as a fund raiser for POTCF. Submitted photo. not spare her son the fear and pain of cancer treatment.
Desperate to intervene in any way, she thought: Give him something, a little source of comfort, to divert his attention.
Martin Kisel endured many painful procedures, including intensive chemotherapy, to fight acute lymphocytic leukemia. So Colleen Kisel started to buy her seven-year old a small new toy each time.
“I discovered that it became a calming distraction from his pain,” said Kisel, an Orland Park resident, of her idea hatched in February 1993.
Martin would win his fight. And then Kisel conceived a way to reproduce on a massive scale what she had done for her boy.
In 1996 she founded the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, which provides free toys, gifts, and gift cards to children and teenagers in treatment for cancer.
It is the only charity of its kind in the nation. POTCF serves many hospitals throughout the Chicago area, including Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, and the nation.
The past two years, Richards High School has organized a 5K run and walk as a fund raiser for POTCF. The event has generated more than $20,000 in donations. Richards, located at 10601 S. Central Avenue in Oak Lawn, will support POTCF this year, too.
Running with the Bulldogs, set for Sunday, September 21 at 8 a.m., again will serve as a fund raiser for Kisel’s organization. Anyone can register at
The mission of POTCF spoke to Richards teacher Bob Peck, who’s invested hundreds of hours of personal time planning and organizing Running with the Bulldogs.
“The idea of giving a child a gift after their treatment gives them a piece of hope every time they visit the hospital,” Peck said. “It gives them a chance to still feel like a kid and have enjoyment during a day that might seem gloomy by spending it in a hospital.”
For Kisel, the fight remains personal.
“When a child must endure the rigors of cancer treatment, there is little anyone can do to take away the pain. However, through the efforts of the Treasure Chest Foundation, children are provided with comfort and distraction during the times they need it most. It is our goal to keep these treasure chests full of toys so that each time a child needs that distraction, it’s there,” she said.

Telescope builders

  A group of students from Chicago Page-8-CC-telescopeChristian High School’s Astronomy Club, under the direction of Barry Latham, recently built a telescope. Pictured are Chicago Christian students Tommy Findysz (Worth), Matthew Orsic (Crestwood), and Lauren Guth (Mokena).

  The telescope is an Orion Starblast 6i. It has a database of 14,000 celestial objects, and combined with the “push to programming”, time can be spent looking at rather than finding objects in our suburban skies. Although an out-of-the-box telescope, the students had to disassemble it using simple tools, install the electronics, and then reassemble it.
  Alignment will take place each night the telescope is used. The Astronomy Club meets every Thursday after school to explore some aspect of astronomy. Evening viewings using the telescope will take place near or on campus, but will also be a part of an out-reach program to local community and church groups.

Marist student second in the nation

  • Written by Marist High School

Kelly CollinsKelly CollinsMarist High School junior Kelly Collins finished second in the nation at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand Tournament, which was held in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. Collins competed in qualifying tournaments to advance to the national level, and was also the Chicago Catholic Forensic League Grand Champion.

Collins of Blue Island has been involved with speech and acting since sixth grade, including her first two years at Marist. Speech—or forensics—competitions include a variety of categories that can be individual or duet and span a range of styles. Competitors are judged by a panel of coaches and experts. To prepare, Collins says she meets with her team and coaches two to three days a week and practices on her own.

During the year, Collins competed in dramatic duet acting, but oratorical declamation is what brought her to the top at Nationals. In this category, competitors must memorize a speech and are critiqued on style, delivery, and other factors. Collins memorized Brené Brown’s “Ted Talk Listening to Shame, ’’which addresses moving past the feelings of shame and helping others do the same, using empathy. Next season, she plans on competing in oratorical declamation and original oratory—where she will get to write her own speech.