Ridge Central jumps for the AHA

  • Written by Kari Nelson


More than 100 Ridge Central students participated in this year’s Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser for the American Heart Association.
  The event included students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Third- through fifth- grade students participated after school at the Jump, kindergarten through second grade students jumped for their donations during their Physical Education classes.
  The top fundraisers were Nikolas Dixon (third Grade) who raised $287, Ryne Luna (third grade) with $203, Gabriel Jackson (first grade) with $200.
  Ridge Central’s total fundraising effort for this event was $3,885.68, which was announced at the event on February 24th.
  Many of the parents showed up to watch and help with the Jump along with Brandy Hobbs from the American Heart Association, who presented Ridge Central with a 2014 Jump Rope for Heart banner.
  Ridge Central Elementary School has been participating in Jump Rope for Heart since 1997. Ridge Central will again participate in Jump Rope for Heart next year, hoping to beat the fundraising effort from this year.
— Submitted by Ridge Central Elementary School

Campus Leaders from 3-6-14

A number of area residents were named to Benedictine University’s fall dean’s list. The dean’s list recognizes full-time students who achieve a 3.5 grade point average or above. Students named to the dean’s list include:

  Mackenzie Muersch of Chicago Ridge, Molly Williams and Markus Wrobel of Evergreen Park, Cindy Kirk and Hajer Ibrahim of Hickory Hills, Kristine Luna, Aliya Murray, Mahmoud Abdel, Kayla Weyer, Katherine Juszczyk and Chris Rafacz, all of Oak Lawn, Hend Diab and Renee Habbal of Palos Heights, Anna Bosek, Sandra Mazonas, Deama Sheika, Shelley Vanwitzenburg and Rachel Marzalik, all of Palos Hills, and Hedaya Karim of Worth.
  Benedictine University awarded degrees to 439 students who completed their requirements on or before December. The December 2013 graduates include:
  Hercedes Smith of Evergreen Park, master of science in nursing, Hiba Kamal of Hickory Hills, bachelor of science, diagnostic medical sonography, Mary Swearingen of Hickory Hills, master of science in nursing, Daniel Zajaczkowski of Palos Hills, bachelor of arts, management, cum laude, and Deama Sheika of Palos Hills, bachelor of arts, psychology.
  Others earning their degrees from Benedictine University in December include:
  Dina Surdyk of Palos Hills, bachelor of arts, management summa cum laude, Peter Surdyk Palos Hills, bachelor of arts, management, summa cum laude, Sam Suhail of Palos Hills, master of business administration, and master of public health.

  Kyle Cheng of Oak Lawn has been named to the dean’s list at Boston University for the fall semester. Each school and college at Boston University has its own criterion for attaining dean’s list honors, but students generally must attain a 3.5 grade point average, on a 4.0 scale, or be in the top 30 percent of their class, as well as carrying a full course load as a full time student.

Bulletin Board from 3-6-14

Chicago Christian
  Chicago Christian High School, 12001 S. Oak Park Ave., Palos Heights, will present Broadway Today, this year’s choir show at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13. It includes music from “Wicked,” “Hairspray,” and “Jersey Boys,” and recent revivals such as “Grease,” and “Les Miserables.” The show includes student created choreography as well as professional choreography, staging, costuming, visual narration, solos and a pit band. The show is free for all ages. For more information, call 708-388-7650.
  Community residents are invited to Chicago Christian High School Theater Department’s spring production of “Hilarity Ensues: A Night of Comedy.” Performances will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 in the CCHS auditorium, 12001 S. Oak Park Ave., Palos Heights. The evening will feature the school’s first Chicago Christian High School Improv Team, and two one-act comedies, “Sure Thing” and “Philosophy 101: A Play,” as well as a special performance by the CCHS girls’ a cappella group, The Knightingales. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and $7 for adults. Tickets will be on sale in the main office at CCHS beginning Monday, Feb. 17. For more information, call 388-7650, or visit
Mother McAuley
  Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School will host various summer camps for athletes, artists, actresses, scientists and musicians from kindergarten through high school age. Campers are given the opportunity to develop skills by learning from and interacting with experienced staff. McAuley camps include 13 sport camps, two music camps, an art camp, science camp, the theatre “Kids Kamp,” and a new enrichment camp for girls in grades 1 through 6. Registration for all camps is now available online at Every camp is offered at different times and days, at various fee levels.
Oak Lawn
Community H.S.
  Oak Lawn Community High School will host its Relay for Life for the 12th year in a row. Relay for Life is an organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research. This year’s Relay for Life will take place Saturday, May 17. Per Relay tradition, the faculty, staff and students painted the gym purple on Feb. 7 by wearing purple T-shirts during the varsity basketball game. Relay for Life coordinator Thaddeus Zuzga said that OLCHS raised more than $1,500. These funds will be used to cover all of the extracurricular activities at this year’s Relay For Life Event on May 17, 2014. It is not too late to register teams or participants for the event. For more information, call 424-5200.
  A Candlelight Bowl will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at Fox Bowl, 1101 Butterfield Road, Wheaton. Money raised will fund The Tim Nickos Memorial Scholarship, which will grant one $2500 scholarship to an OLCHS student to help with college tuition. The winner will be announced at the spring sports award ceremony.
  Tickets are $25 for students, or $30 for adults. The ticket price includes three games of bowling and dinner. There will also be a cash bar, raffle prizes and split the pot. For more information, visit
  Tim Nickos was an individual who lived every day to the fullest by inspiring and motivating others through his contagious smile and great sense of humor. Nickos was to be the captain of the Oak Lawn Community High School varsity swim team his senior year. He was a member of the OLCHS band. Nickos always provided for everyone around him. He died in his sleep at the age of 17. He had a heart condition called cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) that went undiagnosed. This led to cardiac arrhythmia, which ended his life on June 28, 2011.
  The Stagg Wind Symphony, Andrew Wind Symphony and Sandburg Symphonic Band I will perform as a celebration of Music in Our Schools month at 7 p.m. Friday at Sandburg High School, 13300 S. LaGrange Rd, Orland Park.
  The concert will conclude with a performance by the third annual D230 Honor Band. This year’s conductor is David Morrison, who is retired from Prospect High School. Top students from each band program have been selected to participate in a day of intense rehearsal to perform at the evening’s concert.
  Morrison received his formal training in music at the University of Illinois, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1973, and his master’s in 1977. He was director of bands at East Richland High School in Olney, Ill from 1973 to 1977. From 1977 until 2006, he Morrison was the director of bands at Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Ill. from 1977 to 2006. While there, he developed and maintained a nationally recognized band program for 29 years.
  Honors Morrison has received include the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association, election to the Phi Beta Mu National Band Director’s Honorary Fraternity, winner of Outstanding Contributions to Education Award at Prospect High School on two occasions, Outstanding Chicagoland Music Educator Award in 1992, the Shining Star Award 1995, and a nomination for the Golden Apple Award in 2001. In 2003, Morrison was honored as the Illinois State Teacher of the Year, and in 2005, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Bandmaster’s Hall of Fame at Northwestern University. In June of 2007, Morrison received the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award.
  Stagg High School will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a namesake event Saturday, April 12 at the University of Chicago’s Bartlett Hall, where Amos Alonzo Stagg served as associate professor and director of athletics.
  Tickets, which cost $40 per adult, will be sold until April 1. A shuttle bus from Stagg High School costs $5. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The community, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and retired employees are welcome.
  The celebration begins with a tour of architectural landmarks at 5 p.m. starting at the Ratner Athletics Center, followed by a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the hall. The celebration will feature hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and desserts.
  The event, hosted by the newly formed Stagg Community Organization, incorporates the talents of students. The Stagg Madrigal Singers and Stagg Jazz Band will perform, and students in the culinary department will make desserts. In addition, art students are involved in creating the tickets and graphics for the program’s ad book, and graphic arts students will help produce material for the event.
  Stagg served the University of Chicago from 1892 to 1932, and his office was in Bartlett Hall. The high school proudly displays one of those doors in its Stagg History Room, obtained when renovations took place at the hall. A pioneering college coach, especially in football, Stagg brought innovation to the game, inventing the lateral pass, huddle, uniform numbers and the tackling dummy. He helped organize the Western Conference, predecessor to the Big Ten Conference. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 both as a player and as a coach. The Division III championship game for the NCAA is known as the Stagg Bowl.
  Stagg High School serves the communities of Palos Hills, Palos Park, Palos Heights, Hickory Hills, Bridgeview, Worth, Willow Springs, and Orland Park.
St. Xavier
  St. Xavier University has been awarded a grant of $10,000 from the Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program to support the purchase of a new instrument for chemical analysis. The instrument, a nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscope, is used in characterizing chemical compounds. Sharada Buddha, department of chemistry associate professor, applied for the grant in order to expand the educational opportunities open to students.
  The instrument is expected to be on campus this semester and will be used in chemistry classes starting in the fall. The instrument also may be incorporated into physical science classes, also offered by the department.
  St. Xavier University will host “Chapters,” an art exhibit by Kelly Harris and Amara Hark-Weber open now until Tuesday, April 1.The exhibit will be on display in the SXU Gallery, located in the Warde Academic Center at the University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. The exhibit will be closed from March 10 to March 16 for spring break.
  The SXU Gallery’s hours are: Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and closed on Sunday.
  Harris holds a master of fine arts degree in visual communications design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor of arts degree in visual communications design with minors in fine arts and biology from Purdue University.
  Hark-Weber holds a master of fine arts degree in visual communications from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a master of science degree in development studies from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s degree in history and Africana studies.

Shepard students engage in speed book dating

  • Written by Bob McParland

Decorated in red and pink, each of the eight page-9-2-col-speedShepard High School LRC coordinator Kim Borgia (standing, left) and literacy coach Meghan Sisk talk with freshmen as the peruse books during the speed dating literary event. Submitted photo.small tables creating a ring in the Shepard High School library overflowed with books.
They invited sampling, sort of a box of chocolates for book lovers. Indeed, with Valentine’s Day approaching that was the point of the ‘speed dating’ literary event.
As they walked into the library, the freshmen in teacher Ryan McGuire’s sixth period health education class soon learned what would happen.
The tables, with seating for four students, featured books with a specific theme. For three minutes -- the speed-dating aspect -- students would read the back covers of books.
After the three minutes, a group would move to the next table and repeat the quick-fire absorption of a new group of books. Then they checked out as many as they wanted at the end of the period.
“We thought the timing perfect, just before Valentine’s Day,” said LRC coordinator Kim Borgia.
The concept: Just like a box of chocolates, students will find something they like when presented with a selection of books with interesting, relevant, and timely themes.
The books explored health-related themes of bullying, self -image, mental illness, suicide, addiction, obesity, and others. Once students chose their books, literacy coach Meghan Sisk explained the expectations for completing the readings.
Students approached the speed-dating concept earnestly. Without exception, they perused the books thoughtfully as Borgia, Sisk, and McGuire walked among the tables talking with them.
While fun, the activity pursued serious goals. Borgia and Sisk took the idea from a workshop at Waubonsie Valley High School.
“I’m borrowing the enduring understanding and essential question they used,” Sisk said.
The project seeks to promote understanding of how “personal choices impact current and long term outcomes on individuals, family, and society,” Sisk added.
The essential question: In a culture where we are bombarded by other people trying to define us, how do we make decisions for ourselves?
“The themes common in young adult literature naturally lend themselves to opening up discussions about the health issues being covered in class,” Sisk said.

It’s Greek to me

page-8-3-col-greekStudents in fifth and sixth grades at St. Bernadette Catholic Academy in Evergreen Park recently presented their Greek gods and goddesses projects to their class. They dressed in costume and told stories about their specific god or goddess.
Pictured are Hannah O’Neill, David Alexander, Jeremiah Powell, Reginald Sykes III, Daniel McKeown, Ja’Niya Williams, Noah Zukowski and Joseph Sullivan. Submitted photo.