Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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District 215 Board recognizes TF North State Champion Drama Team – and other meeting highlights

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (April 24, 2024) – “On behalf of Superintendent Robinzine and the board, we are here tonight to recognize our State Champion Group Interpretation Team,” said TF North principal Brian Rucinski as the group interrupted with applause. He was addressing the members of the school’s Drama Team who were in attendance at the April 23 regular board meeting.

“I don’t think there’s any way you could find a group of students who are more talented,” Rucinski continued. “I don’t think you can find coaches who are more talented. But that’s not enough. On top of that it takes the hard work — and I guarantee that there is not anyone in this state who is more dedicated than this group of students and coaches. They are just – it’s a full-time job. And yet they’re all amazing students at the same time.”

“They’ve made our school proud, they’ve of course made our district proud, and they should be proud of themselves,” added Rucinski. One by one he called the students’ names and awarded each team member a certificate, inviting those present to the front for a group photo with parents and District 215 Board members.

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Drama Team members, coaches, parents, and the District 215 Board gathered during the April 23, 2024, board meeting to celebrate the hard work and talent involved in winning the State Championship. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Building reports

Center: Female automotive students to go downstate

Principal Raymond Williams updated the board on two young ladies who are competing in a state automotive competition. Williams is the principal of TF Center for Academics and Technology and TF Center for Alternative Learning, and he provided the Journal with a follow-up report after the meeting. “For the first time in District 215 history we will have two female students attending the Skills USA State competition,” read the report.

TF South’s Adilene Cervantes will be competing in Automotive Refinish Technology. The competition will test her skills in prepping and painting a panel, sanding and priming a scratch in a panel, masking a vehicle for paint, and color matching and tinting paint. Cervantes will also be interviewed and will complete a 50-question exam.

TF North’s Marithza Montiel will be competing in Collision Repair Technology. Her skills will be tested in MIG welding, dent repair, plastic bumper/tap repair, and vehicle measuring, which involves analyzing a wrecked vehicle to bring it back to factory specs. Montiel will also be interviewed and will complete a 50-question exam.

Cervantes and Montiel are among 10 students competing in the two separate competitions. These 10 students all took a qualifying exam in February and will be competing against students from other vocational schools across Illinois. The championships are being held in Peoria, Illinois, April 25-27. “I hope we bring home the hardware,” said Williams, nodding to the Drama Team and their plaques and trophies.

South: Staff funds gift bags for students

TF South Principal Jake Gourley showed the board a backpack. “Our PBS Department was hard at work today,” he explained, “creating and stuffing gift bags for the first 100 seniors who sign up and turn in their college acceptance, military acceptance, job, whatever it is — proof of post-secondary plans.” The backpacks are stuffed with essentials such as ramen noodles, snacks, towels, toiletries, and other necessities of life in a dorm or apartment. The stuffed backpacks were entirely funded by staff.

North: Record number of new National Honor Society members inducted

“Biggest group we have had as long as I’ve been at North,” said Principal Brian Rucinski when he told the board about the April 24 induction ceremony for National Honor Society. With 25 students inducted in the fall and 21 more being inducted this spring, the full group of 46 were to be celebrated at a single ceremony. “We’re extremely proud of them,” said Rucinski.

Other meeting news

Public Comment

Bob Malkas presented board members with copies of his book, The Road to Redemption, which he said tries to describe what education was like five decades ago in comparison to today.

Superintendent’s report: Spotlighting Curriculum and Instruction

Becky Szuba and LaQuesha Martin-Dean took the board on a deep dive into how their curriculum goals align with the District 215 mission and vision: “To provide diverse learning opportunities that inspire all students to become life-long learners who contribute to their community. And to provide a diverse, relevant, and responsive learning environment in which scholars develop the skills necessary to be critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and productive members of society.”

Annual board reorganization

Per annual practice, the board went through the motions of electing a President, Vice-President, and Secretary to serve for the 2024-2025 academic year. Those positions were retained by Patricia Stepp (President), Marcie Wilson (Vice-President), and Andrea Ballard (Secretary), who were elected by acclamation.

The board also approved the 2024–2025 Board Meeting Calendar before adjourning.

Attending District 215 meetings

Knowing the schedule

The D215 Committee of the Whole meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. and Regular Board meetings are generally held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Meetings are held at the TF Center for Academics & Technology, located at 1605 Wentworth Avenue, Calumet City, Illinois.

Staying informed

Lansing Journal subscribers receive an email each morning with links to Lansing headlines, so they stay informed about items being discussed at public meetings, as well as news that happens between meetings.

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.