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Book donations, student recognitions, staff awards — District 158 board holds May meeting

LANSING, Ill. (May 21, 2023) – District 158 held its school board meeting on Wednesday, May 17, when administrators and students were recognized and books were donated.

Awards and recognitions

Michael Earnshaw (with plaque, left) and Jennifer Hartmann (with plaque, right) with the District 158 Board. (Photo provided by District 158)

Oak Glen Elementary School Principal Michael Earnshaw and Memorial Junior High School Assistant Jennifer Hartmann were both honored for their Illinois Principals Association recognition. For 2023 South Cook County, Earnshaw earned an Elementary Principal of the Year award and Hartmann earned an Assistant Principal of the Year award.

For the month of May, the District’s ongoing ABCDE Award recipient was Paulla Grzych. Grzych, a parent within the district, has volunteered with sixth-graders at Memorial and as a head parent for two classes at Calvin Coolidge Elementary. In addition, she is an active member in the Parent Teacher Association and welcoming to incoming community members. 

District 158 Board President Mary Kelly (left) presents Paulla Grzych with the ABCDE Award. (Photo provided by District 158)

“Paula goes above and beyond in everything that she does and is described as friendly, reliable, kind, and invested in the success of the children in District 158 schools,” said Board President Mary Kelly in a written report. 

Band festival

On April 27, District 158 participated in the South Cook Suburban Junior High School Association Band Festival. According to Superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling, ratings were not given at the festival as it was an opportunity for students to learn from each other.

“The focus is very much on learning, development, hearing other bands, and improving student musicians,” said Schilling.

District 158’s music program recently received its fourth consecutive best community music education recognition.

Learning Resource Center book donation

Hartmann was also highlighted later in the meeting for a book donation on behalf of her mother to the Learning Resource Centers in each district school. The donated book, titled Rise with Ripley, was written by Susan Hartmann, Jennifer’s mother. The book tells the story of the emotional support dog who helped Susan during a time of crisis, told from the puppy’s point of view. 

In December 2018, Susan Hartmann was involved in a car accident that resulted in wearing a neck brace with limited mobility. Through a difficult recovery process, she could not sleep comfortably or participate in her favorite activities. She struggled with this until her daughter adopted a Corgi puppy named Ripley. The bond between Susan Hartmann and Ripley began to form, helping Susan through her recovery.

The book is dedicated to an unsung Lansing resident who immediately helped Susan after the accident, the unconditional love animals give, and Susan Hartmann’s resilience.

Each donated book is inscribed with a special message for each school. For example, the books donated to Memorial read, “Dear students of Memorial Junior High School, may you adopt a love of reading during your time at Memorial Junior High School.”

Science fair

Memorial Junior High School Principal Dr. Ross (far left), Assistant Principal Foster (second from left), 8th Grade Science Teacher Mrs. Albrecht (far right), and the District 158 Board pose with seven of the nine State Science Fair participants. Students from left: Anay Aleman, Juian Rivera, Miguel Chavez, Drew Losnedahl, Mya Major, Benjamin Williams, and Szion Pullin. (Photo provided by District 158)

Seven of the nine students who participated in the State Science Fair at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale were present at the meeting, and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The students who participated were Anay Aleman, Miguel Chavez, Drew Losnedahl, Mya Major, Benjamin Williams, Szion Pullin, Julian Rivera, Josiah Carter, and Kyle Jones. 

“We are so proud of their hard work and their success in making it to the state science fair. They have represented their family, Memorial, District 158 and the Lansing community with great commitment, ” said Kelly.

The next District 158 Board meeting is scheduled for June 21. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. at the Administration Center, 18300 Greenbay Avenue in Lansing.

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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.