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Campus Leaders

The following area residents made the dean's list at Western Illinois University in Macomb for the fall 2012 semester.

Joshua Leonard, Emily McCormick, Steven Moran and David Van Ngo, all of Evergreen Park; Michelle Klutcharch and Christina Makropoulos, both of Hickory Hills; Colleen Krasichand.

Meagan Lindemulder of Oak Lawn; Joshua Gentile of Palos Hills; and Amanda Vanoskey of Worth.

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Julia Volk, an Oak Lawn resident and student at Walther Lutheran High School, has been admitted to Concordia University- St. Paul for the fall 2013 semester. Volk was awarded the Presidents and Lutheran Heritage scholarships.

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Lewis University graduate Ashley Ellis of Oak Lawn received the Father Aquinas Colgan Award during the university's undergraduate commencement ceremonies held Dec. 16. The award is given to a graduating senior at each of undergraduate commencement ceremony held in May and December. Ellis graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal social justice.

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Krystle Conrad of Chicago Ridge made the dean's list at the Rochester Institute of Technology for the fall 2012 semester. Conrad is studying in the university's Center for Multidisciplinary Studies.

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Queen of Peace High School student Michelle Frederick, a graduate of St. Gerald School in Oak Lawn, earned the Cook County Sheriff's Youth Service Medal of Honor. The award is given annually to Cook County residents in grades nine through 12 who have provided meaningful volunteer service to their communities. Frederick served more than 100 hours to achieve the honor.

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The following Oak Lawn residents made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Monmouth College. Jeffrey Kelleher, senior psychology major; Angela Peradotto, senior business administration major; and Mark Roepke, senior business administration major.

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University of St. Francis (Joliet) student Kenny Mason, of Oak Lawn, is part of a group of students who are helping to raise money intended to help feed starving children around the world. St. Francis student leaders are teaming with nonprofit Christian organization Feed My Starving Children to host a "mobile pack" event on the university's campus this spring. Feed My Starving Children works to feed malnourished children in more than 70 countries around the world through a meal-packing program in which "MannaPacks" - scientifically formulated, dehydrated meals that are measured to provide the right amount of nourishment for starving children - are manually packed by volunteers. The committee's goal is to raise $22,000 in order to provide 100,000 meals.

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Oak Lawn residents Robert Dee, David Janet, Madalyn Phillips and Catherine Smith made the dean's list for the fall 2012 term at North Central College in Naperville.

Student of the Week


Yusra Sarhan is a senior at Oak Lawn Community High School. She is the president of the school's SADD chapter and a member of National Honor Society.

What is the best thing about being a student at Oak Lawn High?

Knowing that there are so many teachers, counselors, and other staff members that are available and more than willing to help the students of OLCHS with academically, socially, and personally related issues. I am proud to represent Oak Lawn Community High School and I genuinely believe that OLCHS is an amazing school that gives every deserving student the opportunities that he/she needs to succeed and I'm so glad that I'm a part of this school.

What is your favorite subject and why?

AP physics because it is a challenging class that focuses on the mechanical aspect of physics. This class really forces me to think outside the box and although it is difficult, it is very gratifying. For instance, a lot of times I have to struggle to figure out a certain equation or a certain x-value but when I finally figure out the equation or x-value, I feel like I have accomplished a lot.

Do you participate in any sports, clubs or extracurricular activities?

I am the president of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the president of International Club, the statistician of Mathletes, and the member of various other clubs like Student Helpers, World Languages, and the National Honor Society. I enjoy being the president of SADD because it is wonderful to see so many underclassmen choosing to join a club that supports an anti-drug cause. Also, International Club is very fun to be a part of because it gives me the opportunity to learn about different religions and cultures. Lastly, Mathletes is a blast of fun because it allows me to participate in math competitions and keep track of the scores of the individual members of the Mathletes team.

Do you know what you want to do for a living?

I have always wanted to become a physician/surgeon, specifically, an otolaryngologist. I am planning on majoring in biomedical engineering for my undergraduate studies and I will be attending medical school afterwards. I will use my studies and experience to cure people of their physical ailments and develop my skills as a physician so that I can be able to support myself and my family.

What do you enjoy doing when not in school?

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends during the weekends because I am usually too busy to spend time with them during the weekdays. I also play tennis every once in a while or I might go shopping - anything that will keep me active.

Who are your role models and why?

My role models are Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female American doctor, and Abdel Halim Hafez, one of the greatest classical Egyptian singers of all time. Blackwell not only broke barriers but she also paved the road for future female American doctors. She inspires me to keep pushing forward and doing the best I can so that I can graduate from medical school and make a positive difference in this world. On the other hand, Abdel Halim Hafez was a leader who brought the people of Egypt and people from around the world together for one purpose: entertainment. He taught people how to let go and enjoy life by creating some of the most musically dynamic Arab songs of all time.

If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

I would visit Amman, Jordan, because most of my family members live in Jordan and it has been 16 years since I have visited there. I would love to see all the things that my Arab friends tell me about after they return from Jordan. Many people tell me that Jordan is the perfect place for vacation and I want to experience everything my friends tell me about. I also want to see my aunts, uncles and cousins.

Name something you can absolutely not do without.

I cannot do without my agenda book because I am a very forgetful person and I need to write everything down. If I did not have an agenda book, I probably would not be able to earn A's in any classes because I will forget to do my homework and projects.

Name one person, living or dead, with whom you would like to have a conversation?

I would like to have a conversation with my late grandmother, Shokria Nasser, because she passed away when my mother was 14 years old and I never had the chance to meet her. For some reason, when I look at photographs of my late grandmother, I feel a connection with her and I know that if she was alive, we would love each other very much.

Reveal something about yourself that other people might consider strange.

I get really excited when I watch "The X Factor," especially when one of the contestants that I admire moves on to the next level of competition or when one of the contestants I do not admire moves on to the next level of competition. For instance, when Carly Rose Sonenclar moved on to the final round, I was jumping and screaming with joy. However, when Tate Stevens moved on to the final round, I became very angry and started screaming at my TV.

Cooking at Rice


Twenty-two Brother Rice High School students have been recognized by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission as 2013-14 Illinois State Scholars. Award-recipients rank in the top 10 percent of high school seniors from 749 high schools across the state. Selection is based on ACT scores and class rank at the end of the students' junior years.

Scholars from Brother Rice are Michael J. Bettinardi, Justin A. Ceh, Eric K. Dansart, Matthew J. Doyle, Neil J. Gallagher, David B. Jackson Jr., Jordan A. Jedry, Caleb H. Kennedy, Patrick F. Maguire, Michael T. Mayer, Timothy K. McGinnis, Nolan T. McNicholas, Austin C. Norris, Daniel J. O'Grady, Mackenzie T. Oldfield, Matthew J. Page, Ryan A. Paull, Michael R. Slakis, Bryan M. Stajura, Charles C. Wallace, George W. Webster and Thomas G. Witte.

Bulletin Board

Evergreen Park Dist. 124

School District 124 provides free vision, hearing, speech, language, basic concepts knowledge, and fine and gross motor skills screenings for children 3 to 5 years old who are not yet in kindergarten. Children eligible can qualify for special programs. For more information call Jean Hector at 423-0951, Ext. 2140.

High School Dis. 218

Community High School District 218 will hold its second All- Class reunion at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 from 7 to 11 p.m. at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. The Friends of District 218, an educational foundation, will sponsor the event as a fundraiser supporting college scholarships for students and grants for teachers. The event includes dinner, open bar (beer and wine), disk jockey and raffles. Tickets are $40 per couple, $25 per person through Jan. 11,$30 afterward.

Tickets are available at the District 218 Administrative Center, 10701 S. Kilpatrick Ave., or by calling 424-2000, Ext. 2500. Checks should be made payable to CHSD 218 Foundation. Tickets also are available in the main offices at Eisenhower High School, 12700 Sacramento Ave. in Blue Island; Richards High School, 10601 Central Ave. in Oak Lawn; and Shepard High School, 13049 Ridgeland Ave. in Palos Heights.

Moraine Valley

The regular monthly meeting of the Moraine Valley Community College board of trustees will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 16. The meeting will take place in the Board Room, Building D, Room 219, on campus, 9000 West College Parkway, Palos Hills.

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Moraine Valley will offer weekend classes during the spring 2013 semester. Classes to begin Jan. 18 or later include College: Changes, Challenges, Choices; Introduction to Psychology; Introductory Microbiology; Speech Fundamentals; Fire Fighting Tactics/Strategies II; and Composition II. A complete listing of credit and noncredit classes can be found in the spring 2013 class schedule or at morainevalley.edu. Registration is ongoing. Tuition is $104 per credit hour plus fees and books. Students who have applied to the college can register in the Registration Office in the Student Services Center (Building S); by phone at 974-2110 (TTY for the hearing impaired 974-9556); or at morainevalley.edu.

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Moraine Valley offers online and Internet hybrid courses. Online classes are taught primarily over the Internet, while hybrid courses are taught through a combination of classroom and Web-based instruction. Both types allow for students to attend all or part of their class via the Internet with the ability to access the instructor, classmates and course materials. Access to a Web-equipped computer is required.

Online and Web-assisted classes next spring include Spanish, General Sociology, World Religions, Environmental Science I, Introduction to Fiction, Beginning Algebra, Western Civilization I and II, Medical Terminology, Composition I and II, and General Biology. A complete listing of credit and noncredit classes can be found in the spring 2013 class schedule or online at morainevalley.edu.

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Moraine Valley offers more than 60 classes beginning Jan. 19 at its Southwest Education Center, 17900 S. 94th Ave. in Tinley Park. Classes include Composition I and II, Keyboarding I, Art Appreciation, Principles of Marketing, College Algebra, Introduction to Psychology, Medical Terminology, General Sociology, Spanish I, and Music Appreciation. There are also several noncredit classes offered at SWEC including Plus 50 Internet Basics, Positive Thinking for Life, "Reel" Classic Films, and Beginning Conversational Spanish. A complete listing of all classes can be found in the spring 2013 class schedule or online at mo rainevalley. edu. Registration is ongoing.

Oak Lawn-Hometown starts talks for new teachers' contract

By Laura Bollin

The Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 board of education met in closed session last week to discuss negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the district’s teachers.

The special meeting was called by board president Joseph Sorrentino, who declined to comment on the negotiations but said the district wants to have a balanced budget by 2016. The current teachers’ contract expires in August.

District 123 business manager Mike Loftin said the district has adopted two balanced budget since the 2007-08 school year – that year and again in 2008-09. The district is projecting a shortfall of $2 million for the 2012-13 l year, Loftin said.

Negotiations will be in regard to the district’s 230 certified staff members including teachers, social workers and speech pathologists. All of those positions are part of the same salary schedule, Loftin said. First-year teachers with bachelor’s degrees who started their careers at District 123 last school year made $42,012 last year and $44,912 this year, Loftin said. Projections for what a teacher who started working at District 123 this school year would make next year have not been finalized because the contract is under negotiation, Loftin said. The district’s highest paid teacher, according to the salary schedule, would have to have a master’s degree, 45 additional hours of continuing education or college credit courses and 34 years in the district. That teacher would make $101,626 according to the current contract, Loftin said.

The average salary for all certified staff positions is $68,000, and the annual salary increase for all union staff members is 5 percent, Loftin said.

The district expects to spend $15.1 million in salaries this year for its certified staff members. Teacher’s aides will cost the district an additional $737,168, and technology aides will cost another $152,960. The district pays $3.1 million in medical benefits toward all of its staff members, Loftin said. Salaries and benefits make up 80 percent of the district’s budget.