School News

This Week on #WorkforceWednesday: Amanda Gerke's Journey to Chiropractic Care
Alex LeMoine

CAMP ChiroTherapy is located in Algonquin, IL and was started by Crystal Lake South graduate, Amanda Gerke. Gerke attended Marquette University with the intent to go to medical school and progress her career in the sciences. Over time, her trajectory changed and she uncovered a passion for chiropractic care.

“In high school my focus was just learning what I could, doing well in my classes so that I could get into the college I wanted to get into. I was on the 4-year college path,” said Gerke. 

Gerke graduated from Marquette in December 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. She got a job in the research field out of college, but soon realized that she wasn’t passionate about continuing in the field or moving on to medical school.

After suffering an injury herself, Gerke was first introduced to chiropractic medicine.

“I found a chiropractor, I went and she changed my whole opinion of her industry and healthcare and how patients should be treated, and it was just completely eye-opening for me. So I literally went home and I was like, ‘This is what I’m doing. How do I do it?’” said Gerke. 

From there, Gerke enrolled in a program in Lombard, IL and began her studies to become a chiropractor.

“The chiropractic program is intense. The first two years are all your anatomy, we dissect a cadaver from head to toe in our first year the same way that medical students do. We don’t have to focus on pharmaceuticals, stuff like that because we don’t prescribe, so instead that time is put into anatomy and physiology and how things work,” said Gerke, who cites the study skills she learned as a student at Crystal Lake South for helping her succeed after high school.

Following her completion of the program, Gerke moved back to the Crystal Lake area to start her own practice, CAMP ChiroTherapy. She learned quickly that there is much more to owning a practice than being able to treat patients. Gerke’s skills have expanded as a business owner, entrepreneur, and as a chiropractor.

“In the state of Illinois I’m a physician. I’m a licensed physician, so I’m able to help people with so much more of their health than just cracking a back and sending them out the door,” said Gerke.

For the rest of our conversation with Amanda about what it takes to be a licensed physician and run her own practice, listen to D155’s Workforce Wednesday podcast here.

#WorkforceWednesday is a marketing campaign that will provide valuable content to prepare students with life-ready skills and to initiate and strengthen workforce partnerships in our community which aligns with the district’s strategic plan.

The #WorkforceWednesday marketing campaign is an opportunity for the district to engage, interact, and have two-way conversations with students, staff, business partners and industry professionals across multimedia platforms. To see more #WorkforceWednesday’s be sure to follow @CHSD155 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
Shannon Podzimek

D155 recognizes our responsibility to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). We continue to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and we are following guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the McHenry County Department of Health as we make decisions. We understand it’s a fluid situation and we will provide timely communication to staff, students, parents, and our community as we receive updates.

The safety and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. We are working to develop an FAQ and provide you more information about the district’s plan moving forward.

The CDC recommends the following:


  • Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after your fever* (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher) is gone. 

  • Temperature should be measured without the use of fever-reducing medicines (medicines that contain ibuprofen or acetaminophen).

As a parent or guardian, you ultimately make the decision to keep your child home. If you choose not to send your child to school, please call the attendance line to have your child’s absence recorded as excused. 

If you have general questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) please call the Illinois Department of Health Hotline at 800-889-3931 or email:


More Information
D155 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates


This Week on #WorkforceWednesday: Grow Your Passion Into a Business with Chelsie Tamms
Alex LeMoine

Chelsie Tamms graduated from Bradley University and in the same year launched her own business, Lettering Works. Tamms was able to harness her passion for graphic design into a company that specializes in custom lettering and uniquely designed products. Her work can be found all across Chicago, most notably in the Field Museum.

Before deciding to study graphic design, marketing and Spanish at Bradley University, Tamms attended Cary-Grove High School and was largely influenced by the Art department and the classes that she took there. 

“I loved taking [the art classes] because of the teachers and their involvement and interest in the students. I think it was a really great way to learn how to problem solve, to learn how things work and don’t work, and just be creative in general, so I still use a lot of those things and those techniques that we kind of learned throughout the basic classes to this day,” said Tamms.  

Following her graduation from Cary-Grove and her undergraduate career, Tamms entered a contest at Bradley University called Project Springboard, which provides start-up funding to students. Tamms’ business idea won, and she used the $10,000 she received to start Lettering Works in 2016. 

What began as making greeting cards in Peoria, IL grew to creating a wide range of products, new designs, and services based in Chicago.

“I think the biggest difference between working for somebody else as a creative and working for yourself, is just having complete control over everything that you do. Owning a business, on one hand, has a lot of differences in that you have to wear a lot of different hats and figure out a lot of different things, but on the positive side you also get to decide what work you want to do,” said Tamms.

Of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face when launching a business, Tamms said her biggest struggle was knowing where to start. While growing Lettering Works, she learned the value of asking questions, recognizing the resources around you, and reaching out to people who have experience in different aspects of business. 

“A great example is going to my dad for help with finances since he has a background in sales and really understands the numbers and how to price things...that's an area that isn’t really of interest to me,” said Tamms, who stressed the importance of having mentors both in and outside of your industry.

“If everyone felt like they were ready when they first started a business, there wouldn’t be very many business owners,” she said.

For the rest of our conversation with Chelsie about the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, listen to D155’s Workforce Wednesday podcast here.

#WorkforceWednesday is a marketing campaign that provides valuable content to prepare students with life-ready skills and initiates and strengthens workforce partnerships in our community which aligns with the district’s strategic plan.

The #WorkforceWednesday marketing campaign is an opportunity for the district to engage, interact, and have two-way conversations with students, staff, business partners and industry professionals across multimedia platforms. To see more #WorkforceWednesday’s be sure to follow @CHSD155 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cary-Grove Student’s Experiment to be Performed on the ISS
Alex LeMoine

As of 9:59 a.m. on Saturday, November 2, Cary-Grove High School sophomore, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Fournier’s winning experiment was launched into space. After winning the Higher Orbits: Go for Launch! national competition, Fournier’s experiment, which she developed with four other students, is now being tested by astronauts on the International Space Station. 

Members of team “Reginae Reginarum”, translated to “Queen of Queens” in Latin, will be able to access information, data and pictures over the next several weeks to monitor their experiment's progress in space.

“We plan to follow up and analyze the data. We would like to stay involved with researching this to the best of our abilities,” said Fournier.

After attending the District 155 Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) Conference in 2017 and 2018, Fournier was contacted by the Go for Launch! program and participated at the Scot Forge event in Spring Grove, IL during the summer of 2018. 

There she worked with four other female teammates to develop an experiment that was launched into space in November of this year. Fournier was invited to attend the launch at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. 

The goal of Fournier’s experiment is to test the astaxanthin production of Haematococcus Pluvialis algae in microgravity. Astaxanthin is an anti-inflammatory substance that is used in multiple medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, high cholesterol and other common conditions. Fournier and her group want to see if this specific strain of algae will produce more astaxanthin in space and if it is more potent. 

“The idea was inspired by wanting to help people,” said Fournier. “From there we decided that we wanted to find something that has the potential to improve medications for common diseases. That is when we came across this mind-blowing algae.”

Fournier hopes other girls interested in STEM will take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. She plans to continue her involvement with District 155’s GEMS program as a volunteer for as long as she can. Her goal is to spread information about her experiment and encourage other girls in STEM.

“I would say to consider yourself very lucky to be interested in this field and, if you love it, continue in it. And lastly, never doubt yourself or your abilities and never place limits on yourself and what you can accomplish,” said Fournier. 

Two other Cary-Grove students have won the 2019 Go For Launch! American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Apollo Series competition since Fournier’s win in 2018. 

Sophomores Daniel Marek and Jake Drews were a part of the winning team “Flammenwerfer Axolotl” who developed an experiment to test how cabbage moth larva makes a chrysalis in microgravity. The team hopes their findings will reveal how these moths could impact farming in space.

Drews and Marek’s experiment is set to launch to the International Space Station in 2020.

Cary-Grove Student Earns Perfect SAT & ACT Scores
Alex LeMoine
A Cary-Grove High School senior is the first student in District 155 history to earn perfect scores on SAT and ACT exams. Ved Patel received a 36 the first time he took the ACT, his sophomore year. During his junior year, he received a 1580 on the SAT, but thought he could do even better and took the exam a second time. 

“I thought it would be a fun, low-pressure challenge to try to improve my score,” said Ved Patel, a Cary-Grove senior. “I wasn't expecting a perfect score since the SAT has almost no curve, but it was an awesome surprise to wake up to on score release day!”

Ved says he was nervous to first check his score on the day they were released. He checked at 3:00 a.m., but results weren’t posted just yet. It wasn’t until he received a text from his father, that he learned he achieved a rare feat.

“As soon as I got to school at 7:00 a.m. my dad, who was in Germany on a business trip, texted me that I got a 1600. I thought he was lying, so I checked myself. I was shaking when I sent a picture of my score to my mom, who didn't believe me at first either,” said Patel. "I had to send her my CollegeBoard password so she could check for herself.” 

Ved said he put aside a few hours every day to study and take a few sections of the practice tests. He also helped some of his friends with SAT prep on the side. 

“During the test, it's very important to stay level headed and calm. If you think some problems look extra challenging, don't get flustered; just try them at the end,” he said.

Cary-Grove High School principal, Neil Lesinkski, says Ved embodies the qualities of a Trojan student. 

“His work ethic, passion for learning, and natural curiosity are second to none. In addition to being an incredible student, Ved possesses the quality of character that we try to instill in all Trojans. We are proud of all he has accomplished and extremely excited to see his future impact on our world.”

Ved was also recently named a National Merit Semifinalist in September. He says Cary-Grove has given him opportunities to be successful academically.

“My teachers have been the best part of my time at CG. They are all energetic and passionate, and have always gone above and beyond, sometimes at the cost of their personal time to help me succeed,” said Patel.

As for his future, Ved plans to study biology or biomedical engineering and intends to go to medical school after earning a bachelor’s degree.

Ved, for now, is enjoying the rush of making District 155 history. 

“My whole family is excited since this was a fantasy-esque scenario,” he said.