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TF South ‘Special Ts’ student business celebrates anniversary at District 215 meeting

Student entrepreneurs presented their business at the meeting


LANSING, Ill. (December 15, 2022) — Student advocacy and student business were at the forefront of District 215’s final 2022 meeting held on Tuesday, December 13.

NCTE conference highlights

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention was held November 17-20 in Anaheim, California. The theme “¡Sueños! Pursuing the Light,” focused on how individual and collective pursuit of light continues to assist in imagining a new story with bright spots and dreams.

Participating students were able to present at the conference, meet some of their favorite authors, and go to Disney world.

Students will have their presentation published in the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) Review. Dr. Mark Letcher will make a summary of what was presented and publish it. According to their website, the ALAN Review is a peer-reviewed journal devoted solely to the field of literature for young adults.

South students voice concerns

During public comment, nine students voiced their concerns about rules at TF South.

The concerns included better preparing students for required tests; the dress code policy; identifying diverse teacher representation; and relationships between deans and students.

The students were supported by staff and parents in attendance and encouraged to continue to use their voice.

“This is great to hear them talk and speak out. Don’t ever stop speaking out and asking questions,” said Timothy Cocco, physical education teacher and girls wrestling coach.

“Special Ts” celebrates one year in business

During Thornton Fractional South’s building report, Principal Jake Gourley invited special education teacher Jennifer Gross, speech and language pathologist Kelly Ruckert, and several students to present the school board with T-shirts from their business, Special Ts.

Students Jayla, Brett, Bryce, and Danairis made the presentation and are participants in the SOAR program.

As stated on District 215’s website, the SOAR program is a program that combines traditional academics with functional skill instruction. Academic content is supplemented with learning experiences designed to enhance students’ social-emotional, independent living, and adaptive skills.

“We started a T-shirt business to give students the opportunity to learn some vocational skills and to see what it was like to have a job. Students design, advertise, make the products, and complete sales, so they learn a lot of different job skills,” said Gross.

Residents looking to support Special T’s can visit TFS Special Ts on Facebook.

The District 215 Board meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month, but met early this month due to the Christmas holiday. The next meeting will be held on January 24, 2023, at 1605 Wentworth Avenue in Calumet City.


Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.