‘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.

Campus Leaders from 4-9-15

Milwaukee School of Engineering
Martha Savory of Evergreen Park was named to the honors list at the Milwaukeee School of Engineering. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.
Evan Sendra of Oak Lawn earned recognition on dean’s list with high honors. He is studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering
Undergraduate students who have earned at least 30 credits and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher on a 4.0 scale are on the dean’s list. Students who have maintained a 3.70 or higher grade point average, receive high honors. Undergraduate students on the honors list have earned a grade point average of at least 3.20 on a 4.0 scale for the current quarter and are not on the dean’s list.

Luther College
Scot Schaeffer, Luther College vice president for enrollment management, has announced that Rose Okungbowa of Oak Lawn has been accepted for admission for the 2015-16 academic year. Luther is a four-year college located in northeast Iowa. The college has an enrollment of 2,400 students and offers a liberal arts education leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in 60 majors and pre-professional programs.

University of Wisconsin
Six University of Wisconsin-Madison student project proposals, including two from Hickory Hills residents, have been selected from among nearly 20 submissions for 2015-16 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships.
The 17th year of the Wisconsin Idea Fellowships will feature two domestic projects and four international projects. The six projects—to be implemented over the course of the next 12 months—were collectively awarded over $30,000.
2012 Amos Alonzo Stagg High School graduate and Hickory Hills resident Alexandra Arriaga was awarded a fellowship for her project proposal: 
Narrativas del cruce: Female narratives of migration between the US and Latin America; Arizona, USA
Alexandra Arriaga of Hickory Hills, a Carribbean and Iberian Studies student, will explore Journalism and Latin American.
University of Nebraska
Paulina Guzek of Palos Hills was selected for the Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Invitations were sent in early February and the initiation ceremony took place March 15 in UNL’s East Campus Union. Phi Eta Sigma is the nation’s oldest and largest honor society for first-year college and university students in all disciplines. The society’s mission is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning.

Campus Leaders 1-15-15

Lewis University Announces Dean’s List Honorees
A number of local students were among those honored on the Lewis University dean’s list for the fall semester.
Lindsey Campione of Worth was studying forensic criminal investigation, and Kathleen Skopec, also of Worth, was studying physics at Lewis University.
Gabrielle Vasilevskis of Chicago Ridge was studying psychology.
From Hickory Hills, Max Strus and Lyndsey Kandich were studying forensic criminal investigation, Kaitlyn Curtis was studying environmental science, Maciej Kuklinski was studying criminal/social justice, Tanya Kaminski was studying criminal/social justice, Francis Lauth was studying aviation maintenance management, Josh Hamel was studying finance, Kevin Curtis) was studying business administration, Emily Wagner was studying early childhood education special education, Alicja Szaflarska) was studying business administration, and Bridget Ivancic was studying elementary education at Lewis University.
From Oak Lawn, Mutasem Daineh was studying biology, Anna Dusza was studying psychology, Ashley Medel was studying criminal/social justice, Jamie Fionda was studying criminal/social justice, Kelli Leifker was studying social work, Krista Herrera was studying athletic training, Alfredo Melendez was studying computer graphic design, Nicole O’Keefe was studying criminal/social justice, Colin MacDonald was studying criminal/social justice, and
Agnieszka Rychtarczyk was studying finance at Lewis University.
From Evergreen Park, Nicholas Siemiawski was studying computer science, Michael Cotter was studying English, Alex Siemiawski was studying computer science, Tyler Senjanin was studying mass communications, and Michael Enriquez was studying business administration at Lewis University.
From Palos Heights, Fiona Byrne was studying chemistry, and Mary Bradley was studying psychology at Lewis University.
From Palos Hills, Diane Furczon was studying marketing, Anna Opacian was studying special education, Alyssa Theis was studying organizational leadership, Tassneem Abu-Rezeq was studying nursing and Natalia Marusarz was studying criminal/social justice at Lewis University.

Area Students Named to Dean’s List at St. Norbert College

  Matthew Menke of Evergreen Park, Fiona Hehir of Hickory Hills, and Erin Melaniphy and Jennifer Wark of Oak have been named to the fall semester dean’s list at St. Norbert College. A minimum of a 3.5 grade point average is required for academic eligibility.

Lewis University Honors December Graduates
Lewis University honored over 500 undergraduate and graduate students at its December graduation ceremonies in Romeoville.
Both of Evergreen Park, Lauren Romero and Pearce Dowden graduated with a master of arts in elementary education from Lewis University.
All of Oak Lawn, Theresa Nugent) graduated \ with a master of science in nursing in Nursing, Kelli Leifker graduated with a bachelor of arts in social work, James Boyle graduated with a master of science in nursing in nursing, Kristy Zak graduated with a master of business administration in business, and Joanna Staszel) graduated from Lewis University with a bachelor of arts in human resource management.
All from Palos Hills, Maricela Lopez graduated with a bachelor of science in chemistry, Antoinette Gray graduated from Lewis University with a bachelor of arts in management, Jeff Malyszko graduated with a bachelor of arts in liberal arts, and Anna Kaszewski graduated from Lewis University with a bachelor of science in finance.
Both of Hickory Hills, Maciej Kuklinski graduated with a bachelor of arts in criminal/social justice, and Allison Jones graduated from Lewis University with a bachelor of arts in athletic training.

Richards teacher is Hawks’ Fan of the Game

Richards High School band director Charles Martin is heading to the Blackhawks game Sunday.
And he will be treated right.
Martin was selected as the game’s CME Group Community Spotlight Fan of the Game in the game against Dallas. The designation is given to those who make in impact in their communities.
The Oak Lawn resident will receive two 300 level game tickets and free parking. He will also receive a replica Blackhawks jersey, recognition during the WGN radio broadcast and recognition on the scoreboard.
—School District 218