June 12, 2012 12:45PM
Updated: September 25, 2012 6:00AM
Perfect attendance for teen
PLAINFIELD — Plainfield East High School senior Connor Higgins, who graduated May 19, is the second district student in two years to record perfect attendance through all 13 years of schooling.
Higgins was the only student graduating this year with perfect attendance throughout his high school career.
He plans to attend Illinois Wesleyan University and major in Spanish and another, as-yet-undecided subject in the medical field.
He credits two things for his attendance achievement — good luck and his mom.
“I have been blessed with good health,” Higgins said, laughing about how he always seemed to get sick during breaks from school.
His mother, Kathy Schuster-Higgins, confirmed her son’s childhood illnesses tended to arrive during time off from school.
“It messed up a lot of vacations but this (perfect attendance) was more important,” said Schuster-Higgins, a nurse at Edward Hospital.
“Meeting your commitments is a value that we have in our family,” Schuster-Higgins added. “You just do it. That’s our expectation, that’s our standard.”
He played football all four years; tennis his sophomore year; basketball his freshman and sophomore years; and ran track the last two years, serving as captain this year.
He was in the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society and was a member of the award-winning Orange Crush student pep group.
JCA students travel to Spain
JOLIET — A different language. A different place. A different pace.
“People are a little different when they’re at home,” said Lauren Finaldi, a Spanish instructor and the moderator of National Spanish Honor Society and Student Exchange at Joliet Catholic Academy. “When you have the opportunity to see your students living and speaking in this type of environment, it gives you more of a full picture.”
From April 5-18, 14 students from JCA’s Spanish Foreign Exchange Club viewed that picture in Vilanova, Spain, a suburb of Barcelona. JCA hosted the same families last year.
“That gave us a certain comfort level,” Finaldi said. “Vilanova is a half-hour drive from Barcelona — like Joliet to Chicago, the same kind of distance. The kids were impressed that, even though it was a city setting, they could walk everywhere or they could ride bikes. We did a ton of walking over there.
Traveling for the trip were seniors Anne Schmig (Joliet), Brittany Rosales (Joliet), Jasmine Smith (Joliet), Nick Humbles (Wilmington), Alessa Smith (Shorewood) and Marissa Cardenas (Plainfield); juniors Carolyn Hall (Plainfield), Madeline Mutz (Joliet), Taylor Madlener (Plainfield), James Hunter Warning (Shorewood) and Michael Kaminski (Joliet); sophomores Alexis Rotnicki (Shorewood) and Cesar Mireles (Joliet); and freshman Nataly Cardenas (Plainfield).
Also along as a chaperone with Finaldi (Naperville) was Katie Drabik (Joliet), who teaches Spanish at JCA. And as educators, Finaldi and Drabik were thrilled to witness the classroom coming alive in real time.
For her part, Finaldi considered the trip the realization of a dream and thanked Jeffrey Budz, JCA’s principal/CEO, for approving the trip.
Finaldi went on student-exchange trips in high school and college.
“I have done this many times, so I know the value of it,” Finaldi said.
Student gets academic honor
LEMONT — Lemont High School senior Marjorie Dallmann has been one of the school’s top students since stepping foot on campus as a freshman.
She has accumulated a perfect grade point average throughout her high school career and became the first student in school history to score a perfect 36 on the ACT.
Before graduating, however, Dallmann was able to find one final way to chart new territory for Lemont High School, as she became the first Lemont student to be named to the Chicago Tribune All-State Academic Team. She is one of just 10 students from across the state to be named to the team.
Dallmann not only was featured in the May 4 edition of the Chicago Tribune, but also was part of the “Chicago Live!” radio program.
Dallmann will attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she will be a part of the James Scholar Program for engineering and one of 125 freshmen to be a part of the Chancellor’s Scholar Program, which serves as the campuswide honors program.