Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Connect with us:


TF North Drama Team wins ‘Best Ensemble’ at Musical Theatre Awards

LANSING, Ill. (May 31, 2023) – Thornton Fractional School District 215 held its board meeting on May 25. Two district staffers and TF North’s Drama Team were recognized for their accomplishments. 

TF North Drama Team

TF North’s Drama Team was nominated in several categories at the12th Annual Broadway in Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards (IHSMTA). According to its website, IHSMTA celebrates excellence in high school theatre throughout Illinois. North was one of 71 schools that participated.

The District 215 Board with the TF North Drama Team. (Photo provided by District 215)

TF North was nominated in three categories for its performance of the play Once On This Island. Junior Joi Terrel was nominated for best performer in an actor role as “Daniel”; Director Sade’ May was nominated for best director; and the entire cast was nominated, and won, in the category of best ensemble. North was one of five schools in the best ensemble category.

Superintendent Dr. Sophia Jones-Redmond expressed pride in leading a district that has produced the winners. 

“You all made history in a real way. And once you make history, we’re not wiping it away,” said Dr. Jones-Redmond. 

At TF South, a group of entrepreneur student leaders presented business concepts to a team of executives at Chicago’s downtown BMO tower. Winners were given yearlong mentorships. 

Excellence Counts Award

Excellence Counts Award Winners Dynecia Dixon and Alexander Gillespie (Photo: Quinton R. Arthur)

District 215 staff Dyneica Dixon and Alexander Gillespie were both recipients for May’s Excellence Counts Award. The Excellence Counts award provides an avenue for district staff, parents, students, and community members to nominate and honor those people who have done their best for District 215.

Dixon serves as a paraprofessional for the SOAR program at TF South. She was nominated by Special Education Teacher Jennifer Gross for her enthusiasm and dedication.

“I rely heavily on her support to meet the numerous learning, behavior, and social needs of our unique population. Ms. Dixon is a natural. She effortlessly leads the group, makes appropriate accommodations on the fly, and descalates behaviors quickly. She helps to create a positive and safe learning environment. Most importantly, she has the respect,” said Gross in a written statement. 

Gillespie serves as the In-School Suspension Coordinator for the TF Center for Academics and Technology. He was nominated by Principal Ray Williams for his dedication in the classroom and school environment. 

“One of his responsibilities is to provide social-emotional learning lessons here at the Center. He goes above and beyond. He shows motivational videos that resonate with the students. He contributes to the future of the building with his positive nature and witty banter. He has impacted students from both campuses at North and South,” said Williams in a written statement. 

Williams was present at the meeting and shared additional words of appreciation for Gillespie. 

“In honor of the late Tina Turner, she was singing about Gillespie when she said you’re simply the best,” Williams said.

The next District 215 Board meeting is scheduled for June 27. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. at the Center for Academics and Technology, 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.