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D155 High Schools Earn Spots on List Of Illinois’ Best Public High Schools
Rochelle LeBreck

All District 155 high schools earned a spot in the top 100 of Illinois’s Best Public High Schools for 2019. The annual list conducted by U.S. News and World Report is determined based on six factors, including how well students performed on state exams and college preparedness.

Cary-Grove earned the no. 41 spot, Prairie Ridge landed at no. 59 in the state, Crystal Lake South sits at no. 62, and Crystal Lake Central is at no. 70 in Illinois rankings. More than six-hundred schools in Illinois were evaluated for the 2019 list.

“We are proud to have all schools represented on this list,” said Steve Olson, D155 Superintendent, “The results reflect the passion of our teachers and staff as well as the dedication of our students. We hope to continue to instill valuable skills into our students so they can enter our schools with promise and leave with purpose.”

To view the Illinois’ Best Public High Schools list, and further detailed results of D155 high schools, please click here.

Cary-Grove’s Production of All Shook Up Wins Two Awards
Rochelle LeBreck

Cary-Grove High School’s production of All Shook Up won two awards from Broadway in Chicago’s Illinois High School Music Theater Awards. The musical picked up Best Production and Best Choreography during the May ceremony.  

“It was so thrilling to take home both awards, and I was truly overwhelmed with pride and gratitude,” said Rob Boncosky, Cary-Grove musical director. “Cary-Grove has a longstanding tradition of excellence in performance. I am blessed to work with students who are passionate about their work and brave enough to share their gifts and talents in such extraordinary ways.”

The production of All Shook Up was also nominated for Best Ensemble, Best Scenic Design, and Nathan Ancheta and Blake Nolan were nominated for Best Actor, while Alysha Brezina was nominated for Best Actress.

“The experience I had in being nominated for best actor along with the other 4 awards was pure gratitude,” said Blake Nolan, a Cary-Grove senior.

“I feel that these wins are an affirmation that our school is doing the musicals right and the dedication of our directors along with all those involved will not go unnoticed,” said Nathan Ancheta, a Cary-Grove senior. “Also winning Best Choreography was really something special for our community because I know how hard our Choreographer works to create incredible pictures that move the audience along with the show.”

The nominees were selected from 72 productions throughout Illinois. Twenty-four high school students in Illinois were nominated for best actor and best actress. Alysha Brezina was one of three finalists Best Actress category.

“There is something special and unique about Cary-Grove’s theater department, the adults that make it function, and the students that take full advantage of everything it has to offer,” said Alysha Brezina, Cary-Grove senior. “I was lucky enough to not only find a home on the Cary-Grove stage but to find a family standing up there with me enjoying the opportunity we get.”

The Illinois chapter of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards serves as an annual national celebration of outstanding achievement in musical theatre performance by high school students.

Summer Art Camp
Shannon Podzimek

Cary-Grove Art teachers want to offer middle school students a week long opportunity to work with them and some amazing high school mentors. The camp will run from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. each day June 17 - June 21 at Cary-Grove and costs $150.00. We also invite you and your family to join us right after the last day of the camp to celebrate the artists and have some snacks.

To download the registration form, click here.

Eighty Business Law Students Participate in Mock Trial
Shannon Podzimek

Eighty Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove High School students participated in a Mock Trial on December 7. Students prepared, planned, and organized this event by working with State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and his office staff. Each year the cases are written by the Illinois State Bar Association for High School Mock Trials. Students from both Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove took on roles of defense and prosecutor attorneys, as well as witnesses and jurors from each school.

Student attorneys and witnesses prepared with a State's Attorney for one class period prior to the event and for about one hour before the event. During the trial, a State's Attorney sits with them and guides them during the opening statements, direct examination and indirect examination of witnesses as well as during the closing statements. This year, the Assistant State’s Attorneys Theresa V. Kaman and Brette Dunbar helped with Cary-Grove, and Michelle Clesceri and Bobby Zalud helped with Crystal Lake South.

“This has been a very successful and rewarding learning experience for our students and we hope to continue it in the future,” said Theresa Miller, Cary-Grove’s Business Education Teacher.

For the past three years, District 155 Business Law classes have been participating in Mock Trials at the McHenry County Government Center.

D155 Students Earn Over $2.7 Million in Art Scholarships
Rochelle LeBreck

Twenty-three District 155 students earned $2,732,272 in scholarships from various art schools and the Illinois High School Art Exhibition (IHSAE). Fourteen Cary-Grove students were awarded $1,848,916, five Crystal Lake South students received $$471,120, and three Crystal Lake Central students received $412,236 in scholarships. The sixth annual IHSAE featured the best student artists from more than 125 Illinois high schools.

“Receiving scholarships has given me the ability to think about going to different schools and choose the best one for me, not just settling for one I can afford. I can now invest more studying art, increasing my skill, and preparing for my career,” said Avery Eskildsen, a Cary-Grove senior.

She plans to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design this fall.

Cary-Grove is one of only 25 schools that had scholarships total over one million dollars in scholarships. Kelsey Anderson, Mickey Dotson, Avery Eskildsen, Quintin Gilbert, Hannah Harvey, Alexandra Kasch, Holly Kopacek, Carlyn Krautsak, Stephanie Kretschmer, Hayden O'Mahoney, Calea Sowell, Ann Talerico, Aislinn Tuminaro, and Constance Ulaszek were selected to showcase artwork at Bridgeport’s Zhou B Art Center and Bridgeport Art Center from February 11 - March 8. Calea Sowell earned an Honorable Mention for her work in the show.

“The positive reaction I got by being a part of both the general exhibition and awarded scholarships through the senior scholarship program has given me more confidence. Attending art school has been a goal of mine, and my family would have found a way to make it happen, but having financial help motivated me,” said Hayden O'Mahoney, a Cary-Grove senior.

Crystal Lake South students Allyn Barnett, Nia-Maya Donka, Hallei Jensen, Lindsey Klotz, and Wilhemina Voegeli from Crystal Lake South High School had artwork featured in show.

Nicole Costantini, Shail Patel, and Elena Starcher from Crystal Lake Central High School were selected to have their art featured in one of eight categories in the exhibit.

Four thousand students, teachers, college representatives and school district administrators attended the state’s largest high school student art exhibition. The Illinois High School Art Exhibition is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission to advance visual arts education through exhibition. It was developed by teachers for students in 2014 and the organization is run by full-time art educators who collaborate with corporate sponsors, art colleges and universities and high school students.