Good cheer: Stagg and Sandburg headed to State

Members of Sandburg and Stagg's competitive cheerleading teams both have something big to cheer about after the two District 230 schools qualified for the Illinois High School Association state meet starting Friday in Bloomington.

Sandburg, the defending large-school state champion, is seeking its fourth state title after winning the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional Saturday with a 94.67 scored.

Stagg latched onto the final qualifying spot, finishing fifth with an 87.07, narrowly beating out another District 230 school, Andrew, which finished with an 86.80. It's the first time since 2007 the Chargers made it to the state tournament. "We finished fifth but it felt like we won first," Stagg coach Bridget Guzior said.

Teaching adds up for outgoing District 230 board president

By Jeff Vorva

High School District 230 president and longtime board member Frank Grabowski didn't hesitate when asked what he thinks is the perfect teaching job.

"Junior high math," he said. Since retiring from the business world after more than three decades of service, Grabowski is finding that his new passion is teaching. He got a taste of it subbing in Orland District 135 and Kirby School District 140 since this school year started. With this change in career path, he is also giving up his seat on the board as he will not run for re-election April 9.

After serving on the District 140 board for four years, he is the longest-serving District 230 board member as he logged 14 years after bring appointed in 1999 and winning three elections.

But he's giving that up for a while.

"Education is the career I want to go to at this point in time," he said after last Thursday's school board meeting. "I went down the business path for 33 years and now I actually want to be in the classroom with the students. I've had a chance to help businesses save millions of dollars with all kinds of projects. I know what is expected from the administrative point of view. Now I have a chance to actually be with the students and whatever school district I teach for will be very exciting to me.

"I've worked both junior high and high school. I will continue on until I get a fulltime position. With that in mind, I want to commit myself to those efforts."

His last job in the business world was as a coordinator for meter-to-cash for People's Energy where he said he tried to find solutions that would save the company and consumers money.

The Tinley Park resident is a graduate of Quigley South High School and holds two bachelor's degrees from Loyola University and a master of business administration degree from DePaul.

In April, 2011 he was voted as president by the board.

"I was nominated once before and didn't get the votes," he said after the vote. "I look at this as true community service as a steward for the taxpayers and as a steward for the families and the students themselves."

Former board member Mike Hastings, who is now a state senator, nominated Grabowski and said "his background is unmatched."

"He assumed numerous leadership roles … and brings innovative solutions to complex problems," Hastings said after the meeting.

Now Grabowski is getting a hands-on experience in working with kids and it's something he hopes to do for the long term.

"I've been concerned with customers and I've been concerned with taxpayers," Grabowski said. "I've been concerned with students from this side [the board of education level] and now I want to be there in the actual classroom to help them.

"From what I've already experienced this year and last year has been very rewarding so I know I'm going to enjoy going down that path. I want to find a place that wants someone like me who wants to be there for a while and wants to build a long relationship."

Campus Leaders

Rachel Baldwin of Evergreen Park; Megan E. Doherty and Brittany Mirkiewicz, both of Hickory Hills; Caitlin Corcoran and Alexander Zemke, both of Oak Lawn; and Jillian Burnickas of Worth made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.


Richards High School senior Rebecca Dunterman, of Chicago Ridge, is a recipient of Western Illinois University's Centennial Honors Scholarship, which covers four years of tuition, fees and housing. High school students with an ACT score of 32 or higher and a grade point average of 3.5 or greater are eligible for the scholarship.


Briana Sevik of Palos Hills made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Monmouth College in Jacksonville. Sevik is a junior majoring in interpreter preparation program (American sign language).


Elizabeth Ann Scanlon of Evergreen Park made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at the University of Rhode Island.


The following area residents made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semster at Lewis University.

 Chicago Ridge

Theresa Galdek and Eric Munoz.

Evergreen Park

John Schergen, Michelle Vucsko and Amanda Williamson.

Hickory Hills

Kaitlyn Curtis, Samantha Fox, Josh Hamel, Lauren Harrison, Allison Jones, Tanya KaMichinski, Maciej Kuklinski, Truc-Giang Nguyen, Nermean Khatib, Niki Brown, Alexander Lopez, Lukasz Kramarz, Shanna Dove and James Sinclair.

Oak Lawn

Sophia Barakat, Luke McKee, Thomas Olsson, Shannon Ott, Ariel Zarate, Mary Linane, Mutasem Daineh, Ashley Buerger, Kevin Barker, Kelly Tillman, Alfredo Melendez, Agnieszka Rychtarczyk, Christina Pender, Lauren Howard, Kaylene Chocola and Shannon Mankowski.

Palos Hills

Jack Gunka, Ruta Grabauskaite, Stephen Kurek, Corinne Tomkins, Anna Kaszewski, Shada Shublaq, Rebecca Gonzalez, Victoria Vent, Kathy Liput and Kerry McGowan.


Emanuel Valdez, Brooke Keller and Kathleen Skopec.


Evergreen Park High School graduate David Hector was recognized last October for scoring a 36, the highest possible score, on the ACT college and career readiness exam.

Fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top composite score of 36. Of the more than 1.66 million American students in the graduating class of 2012 who took the test across the nation, 781 achieved a 36.


Mary C. Collier of Oak Lawn made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.


Kerry Marmozewicz, Daniel Montgomery and Michael Olsson, all of Oak Lawn.

Ronald Altman of Hickory Hills; and Michael Grice of Worth made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Elmhurst College.


The following area residents made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Emily Lajeunesse and Tara McQuillan, both of Evergreen Park; Christian Villanueva of Hickory Hills; and Austin Lenz, Joel Haberkorn, Cody Haberkorn, Andrew Roberts, Matthew Black and Michelle Nudo and Kyle Kalchbrenner, all of Oak Lawn.


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

Willam Knobbe and Morgan Sternal, both of Chicago Ridge; Anna Brown, Ryan McNicholas and Mark Michaels, all of Hickory Hills; Jonathan Grannan, Elizabeth Burbatt, Caitlin Danforth, Erin Murcphy and Clare Smith, all of Oak Lawn; and Tara Stratinsky of Palos Hills.


Michael Grigsby of Evergreen Park made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at McKendree University.


Evergreen Park High School student Katelynn Hohman has been selected to represent Illinois as a National Youth Delegate at the 2013 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University.

Hohman will join a group of 250 students from across the country to participate in a week-long study of leadership in environmental science and conservation. She was chosen based on academic accomplishments, and a demonstrated interest and excellence in leadership in the sciences and conservation studies.


Katie Flynn, a freshman psychology major at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., made the honor roll for the fall 2012 semester.


Briana White of Evergreen Park; Hallie Duffy, Matthew O'Shea, Joshua-Josef White and Matthew Zabransky, all of Oak Lawn; and Asimina Pappas of Palos Hills made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at the University of Wisconsin.


Marianne Callan and Kevin Cosman, both of Chicago Ridge; and Alyssa Boecker and Lauren Haberkorn, both of Oak Lawn, made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Butler University in Indianapolis.


Amanda Michalec of Evergreen Park made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Lakeview College of Nursing.


Alexa Gutauskas and Kristen Hirtzer, both of Palos Hills; and Michelle Dempster, Brittney Sexton and Meredith Skala, all of Oak Lawn, made the dean's list for the fall 2012 term ay Augustana College in Rock Island.


Thomas Simmons of Evergreen Park, James Connolly of Hickory Hills, Mark Malatt of Oak Lawn, and Erica Vrkljan and Spencer Rzeszutko of Palos Hills made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.


Michael Houston of Oak Lawn made the dean's list for the fall 2012 semester at Davenport University.


University of Illinois students Nicholas Musso of Oak Lawn and Kyle Trembley of Worth are among nine University of Illinois undergraduates who have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to study abroad during the spring 2012 semester. Musso, a junior in natural resources and environmental sciences, will study at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Trembley, a junior in religion, will study at the Alliance for Global Education Program in Varanasi, India.

The Gilman Scholarship program honors former U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (New York), a former chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee who retired in 2002 after serving 30 years in the House of Representatives.


Marisa DiBennardi of Evergreen Park is one of 40 University of St. Francis students serving the school as Saints Ambassadors during the 2012-13 school year. 

Members of the Saints Ambassador Corps assist the Admissions Office with recruiting new students and providing top notch customer service for all visitors. All members are interviewed and selected by the Admissions Office, then trained to give tours, phone prospective students and host overnight guests. They also work a variety of campus events.

College Grads

The following area residents graduated in December with bachelor's degrees from Western Illinois University in Macomb.

Evergreen Park

Jeffrey Restarski, law enforcement and justice administration.

Oak Lawn

Matthew Anzilotti, construction management; Edward Pattara, business management; Heather Raschke, recreation, park and tourism administration; and Peter Wojtowicz, construction management.

Palos Hills

Joshua Gentile, philosophy (cum laude).


Keith McDonald, law enforcement and justice administration.

Student of the Week

Wally Findysz, of Worth, is a senior at Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights.

What is the best thing about being a student at Chicago Christian?

Knowing every person that you pass in the hall.

What is your favorite subject?

Music, because I get to do something in school that I really enjoy.

Do you participate in any athletics, clubs or other extracurricular activities?

Football and baseball. It was an honor to be chosen as all-conference and all-area in football last fall.

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

No, I am undecided.

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

Playing guitar, sitting in the hot tub, and hanging out with my friends.

Who are your role models?

My parents, they are always there for me and support me in all that I do.

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

Times Square, because I love [New York] city.

Name something you can't live without.

My friends. Without them, I would not be the person that I am today.

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

Synyster Gates. I see him as one of the greatest musicians ever to live.

Reveal something abut yourself other people might consider strange.

I own 25 pairs of shoes.