Richards run to help the Treasure Chest Foundation

  • Written by Bob McParland

Colleen Kisel knew she couldDR-Page-9-RICHARDS-5K-hlrRunWithDogs14Colleen Kisel, the founder of Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, appears with Richards High School physical education teacher Bob Peck. Richards will sponsor a 5K, Running with the Bulldogs, on at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 as a fund raiser for POTCF. Submitted photo. not spare her son the fear and pain of cancer treatment.
Desperate to intervene in any way, she thought: Give him something, a little source of comfort, to divert his attention.
Martin Kisel endured many painful procedures, including intensive chemotherapy, to fight acute lymphocytic leukemia. So Colleen Kisel started to buy her seven-year old a small new toy each time.
“I discovered that it became a calming distraction from his pain,” said Kisel, an Orland Park resident, of her idea hatched in February 1993.
Martin would win his fight. And then Kisel conceived a way to reproduce on a massive scale what she had done for her boy.
In 1996 she founded the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, which provides free toys, gifts, and gift cards to children and teenagers in treatment for cancer.
It is the only charity of its kind in the nation. POTCF serves many hospitals throughout the Chicago area, including Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, and the nation.
The past two years, Richards High School has organized a 5K run and walk as a fund raiser for POTCF. The event has generated more than $20,000 in donations. Richards, located at 10601 S. Central Avenue in Oak Lawn, will support POTCF this year, too.
Running with the Bulldogs, set for Sunday, September 21 at 8 a.m., again will serve as a fund raiser for Kisel’s organization. Anyone can register at
The mission of POTCF spoke to Richards teacher Bob Peck, who’s invested hundreds of hours of personal time planning and organizing Running with the Bulldogs.
“The idea of giving a child a gift after their treatment gives them a piece of hope every time they visit the hospital,” Peck said. “It gives them a chance to still feel like a kid and have enjoyment during a day that might seem gloomy by spending it in a hospital.”
For Kisel, the fight remains personal.
“When a child must endure the rigors of cancer treatment, there is little anyone can do to take away the pain. However, through the efforts of the Treasure Chest Foundation, children are provided with comfort and distraction during the times they need it most. It is our goal to keep these treasure chests full of toys so that each time a child needs that distraction, it’s there,” she said.

Telescope builders

  A group of students from Chicago Page-8-CC-telescopeChristian High School’s Astronomy Club, under the direction of Barry Latham, recently built a telescope. Pictured are Chicago Christian students Tommy Findysz (Worth), Matthew Orsic (Crestwood), and Lauren Guth (Mokena).

  The telescope is an Orion Starblast 6i. It has a database of 14,000 celestial objects, and combined with the “push to programming”, time can be spent looking at rather than finding objects in our suburban skies. Although an out-of-the-box telescope, the students had to disassemble it using simple tools, install the electronics, and then reassemble it.
  Alignment will take place each night the telescope is used. The Astronomy Club meets every Thursday after school to explore some aspect of astronomy. Evening viewings using the telescope will take place near or on campus, but will also be a part of an out-reach program to local community and church groups.

Marist student second in the nation

  • Written by Marist High School

Kelly CollinsKelly CollinsMarist High School junior Kelly Collins finished second in the nation at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand Tournament, which was held in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. Collins competed in qualifying tournaments to advance to the national level, and was also the Chicago Catholic Forensic League Grand Champion.

Collins of Blue Island has been involved with speech and acting since sixth grade, including her first two years at Marist. Speech—or forensics—competitions include a variety of categories that can be individual or duet and span a range of styles. Competitors are judged by a panel of coaches and experts. To prepare, Collins says she meets with her team and coaches two to three days a week and practices on her own.

During the year, Collins competed in dramatic duet acting, but oratorical declamation is what brought her to the top at Nationals. In this category, competitors must memorize a speech and are critiqued on style, delivery, and other factors. Collins memorized Brené Brown’s “Ted Talk Listening to Shame, ’’which addresses moving past the feelings of shame and helping others do the same, using empathy. Next season, she plans on competing in oratorical declamation and original oratory—where she will get to write her own speech.

Queen of Peace doles out awards

Queen of Peace High SchoolPAGE-9-2-col-pick-queen-of-peac2Woman of Peace winners Tiara Moore and Jessica Doyle pose after an awards ceremony. Submitted photo. recognized students during a ceremony May 8. 
For the first time in Queen of Peace history, the most coveted award, the Woman of Peace Award, went two recipients – Jessica Doyle and Tiara Moore.
Awards included the Illinois State Scholars, given to those who finished in the top 10 perent of all students statewide. Jenna M. Buche, Doyle, Michelle L. Frederick, Natalie M. Palm, Allison Trendle and Stephanie M. Vaccaro earned the honor.
Also notable are those students who maintained at least a 4.0 Grade Point Average throughout their entire high school career: Doyle, Palm, Trendle, and Vaccaro. Vaccaro was named valedictorian and Vaccaro salutatorian.
Queen of Peace also produced several scholarship recipients; The Burbank Chamber of Commerce Scholar was Burbank resident was Vacarro, the Marquette Bank Education Foundation Scholarship went to Moore and the Chick Evans Scholarship which rewards full tuition and housing to a deserving caddy went to Doyle.

Bulletin Board from 5-29-14

Oak Lawn - District 123 invites golfers to ‘Beat the Pro’
  The District 123 Education Foundation Golf Outing will take place Saturday, June 28. “Beat the Pro” and many more contests will be running throughout the day.
  The deadline to register is Friday, June 6. For more information and to register, visit
  Registration starts at 7 a.m. with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. Dinner and awards will take place shortly after golfing at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Fenger High School
  The Fenger High School Class of 1964 is having its 50th reunion Saturday, August 2, at the Tinley Park Convention Center. For more information, contact Susan Rheinheimer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Moraine Valley
  The Moraine Valley Community College Foundation is seeking notable alumni, who have achieved success in their careers or through work in the community, for its new Hall of Fame. Between five to eight inductees will be honored at the inaugural Hall of Fame reception in November.
  Candidates must have completed any amount of credit or noncredit coursework at Moraine Valley, achieved success in their chosen field and made a positive impact on the community through volunteering or leadership. They also must agree to attend the reception to accept the award, and return to campus at least once within the year to be a guest speaker and/or participate in a student engagement activity.

  Nominees can self-nominate (must include a letter of recommendation) or be nominated by someone else. All nominees are encouraged to submit up to three letters of recommendation and a maximum of three pages of supplementary materials such as news articles, brochures or photos highlighting the applicant’s accomplishments and contributions.

  Nominations, which must be accompanied by a current resume or bio, are due by midnight Sunday. Application forms are online at
  For more information, contact Kari Pantol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (708) 974-5551.