Park districts receive state grants

  • Written by Bob Rakow

The Hickory Hills and Oak Lawn park districts won state grants on Saturday that will allow them to move forward with significant improvements designed to improve recreation in both communities.
  This is the first time the Hickory Hills Park District has won a state grant, said Director Jennifer Fullerton.
  “We’re very excited,” Fullerton said.
  The district won $390,000 matching grant that will be used for improvements at Kasey Meadow Park, 8047 W. 91st Place.
  The district plans to spend $787,000 to install a half-mile walking trail at the park that will begin at the parking lot and extend to the baseball fields and splash pad before returning to the Cynthia Neal Center.
  Fullerton said the path is an important addition because runners and walkers currently are forced onto the street during their laps.
  “We’ve got a lot of joggers and walkers,” she said.
  The funding also will be used to make the 17-acre park more American Disabilities Act-compliant, Fullerton said. Specifically, additional ADA-compliant seating will be built near the baseball diamonds.
  The district also plans to add outdoor fitness stations near 91st Street and 82nd Avenue. The cloisters of equipment will enhance the workout for walkers and runners, Fullerton said.
  Finally, two splash pads and playgrounds and will be demolished and replaced. The new playground equipment will be selected based partially on the recommendations of children who use the park.
  “This is exciting for them” Fullerton said.
  The district also held a community meeting and met with regular users when it prepared its grant proposal.
  Winning state grants is becoming routine for the Oak Lawn Park District, which has won several state grants over the past decade.
  This year, the district won a $400,000 grant that it will use to help fund significant improvements at Worthbrook Park, 90th Street and Ridgeland Avenue.
  Improvements include construction of a new skate park and installation of a walking path, new splash pads and new family picnic shelter.
  “We’ll be starting as soon as possible,” Park Director Maddie Kelly said.
  Plans also call for the addition of a new basketball court that will accommodate three hoops, new LED lights and a rain garden.
  Kelly said researching and preparing the written grant proposal requires a lot of work.
  “It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it when you get a check for $400,000,” she said.
  The state awarded grants totaling $16.5 million to 46 park and playground projects statewide. The 46 were chosen from among hundreds of application from park and recreation throughout the state.
  The projects are financed through the state’s Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program, which is administered by the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.
  Grants have been awarded each year since 1986. It is funded through the Real Estate Transfer Tax, which is part of every property sale in Illinois.

Hannum students raise more than $18K for cancer research


  Hannum Elementary School hosted its secondPAGE-8-2-col-haircutThird grader Camila Nateras raised more than $2,000 as a shavee and also donated her hair to Locks of Love. Submitted photo. “Shave for a Cure” this past Friday night, March 14, raising over $18,000. That is $2,000 more than last year.
  “We had about 63 shavees, 30 dancers and so many people there to support this wonderful event,” said Hannum School Principal Anne Marie McGovern. “We even had one brave girl who shaved her head, along with raising over $2,000 herself, we were also able to donate her hair to Locks of Love!”
  The shavees were escorted into the gym by a professional Bagpiper. “Staley Da Bear” showed up to help shave some heads and sign autographs, and the 30 dancers on stage kept the party rolling as they danced the night away.


Bulletin Board from 3-27-14

OLHMS receives state recognition for their conservation efforts

  The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced the state’s three winners of the Illinois Green School Award program. One of the three winning schools is Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School in Oak Lawn.
  The program recognizes schools that save energy, reduce costs, protect student and staff health and wellness, and offer environmental education. The other two recipients are Woodland Primary School in Gages Lake and Evanston Skokie School District 65 in Evanston.
  Students and staff at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School enjoy filtered drinking water fountains, which protect users from ingesting potential contaminants. Thanks to two refillable water stations, the school has seen a reduction in the amount of plastic bottles discarded and ultimately being taken to landfills. Their paper- recycling program along with a 1:1 netbook program has significantly reduced the school’s paper consumption. They are currently working on the implementation of alternate sources of energy to further reduce environmental impact.

Mount Assisi Academy
  Mount Assisi Academy Looking For Fair Participants.
  Mount Assisi Academy is hosting a Career, Volunteer, and Job Fair for their students on from 12:30 to 2:20 p.m. Monday, May 5. The school is looking for:
  • Businesses that need to fill jobs, to host a table, have our students fill out applications, and conduct mini interviews on site.
  • Organizations who need volunteers to host a table and encourage our students to sign up for volunteer opportunities.
  • Professionals to come and share their experience in a particular field, answer questions, and schedule shadow days or internships with our students.
  For more information, call Marina Tadros at 630-257-7844, ext 239, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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.

  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. Laurence
  Alumni Memorial Mass Planned At St. Laurence.
  St. Laurence High School and the Office of Alumni Relations will host its annual solemn mass of remembrance, honoring deceased alumni of the school, at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26 in the school’s library, 5556 W. 77th St. (77th Street and Central Avenue), Burbank.
  Father Norm Trela, from St. Symphorosa Parish, and the school’s chaplain, will celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection. A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the outdoor memorial, weather permitting. Following the liturgy, snacks and refreshments will be served.
  Family, friends, and relatives of deceased alumni of St. Laurence are welcome to attend this liturgy. For more information and reservations, call Ed Kozak in the Office of Alumni Relations at 458-6900, ext. 244.

St. Xavier
  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.

Campus Leaders from 3-27-14

 Olivet Nazarene University announced that the following area students have been named to the dean’s list for the recently completed fall 2013 semester: Joel Andrade of Evergreen Park, Philip Caffee of Oak Lawn, Stephanie Linquist and Dana McMahan of Worth, Gabrielle Metzger, Leslie Miller and Cecilia Pivarunas of Oak Lawn, Serena Procknow of Palos Hills, and Rebecca Timmer of Worth.

  To qualify for inclusion on the dean’s list, a student must have been enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student and must have attained a semester grade point average of 3.50 or higher on a 4.0 grading scale.

Campus Leaders from 3-20-14

In today’s competitive job market, college students recognize the value of high-impact learning experiences, like internships, study abroad and research. Several Augustana College students from the area gained experience from internships. Ashley Yaros from Palos Hills, a senior majoring in biology, took advantage of an opportunity to do an internship at Scribe America.
  Several students have been able to take advantage of internships because of Augie Choice. Augie Choice provides students a one-time grant of $2,000 to offset the expenses of an internship, study abroad or research project. Augie Choice was launched in 2009. To date, the program has helped 1,588 Augustana students through the distribution of $3,176,000. Augustana College is located in Rockford.
  In recognition of outstanding academic achievement, Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights released the college’s Adult Studies dean’s list for the fall. To earn dean’s list distinction, students in the Adult Studies programs must earn at least six graded credit hours with a term grade point average of 3.80 or higher.
  Local students earning dean’s list honors include: Joanna Kollpainter of Chicago Ridge; Thomas Litak, Cindy Lullo and Carrie Rader of Evergreen Park; Camille Bilotto of Hickory Hills; Margaret Greenfield, Marisol Quiroz, Maria Ramirez, Nesreen Saleh and Eric Sielaff of Oak Lawn; Tina Chiou of Palos Hills; and Katrina Johnson of Worth.