School News

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.

Cary-Grove Student Named  'Steve Cochran's Kid of the Week'
Rochelle LeBreck

Molly Marin, a sophomore at Cary-Grove High School, was featured on WGN Radio as  Steve Cochran's "Kid of the Weekand was honored for her community service work. Molly recently received the Silver Service Award from the Girls Scouts program for collecting and donating over 3,000 books.

The idea to collect books started when Molly’s younger sister was admitted to the hospital.

"In the hospital they had books, but when she got discharged, they realized they could not give those books to another kid, they would have to throw away the books because of cross-contamination,” Molly said on the radio program.

From there, Molly started a campaign around her neighborhood to collect books that people no longer use and donated the books to various charities in the Northwest suburbs. She also collected money if people did not have any spare books.

“We really asked those people to use the money to buy coloring books and crayons,” said Molly during her interview with Steve Cochran.

Molly’s younger sister is out of the hospital and doing better now. The Cary-Grove sophomore is still weighing her options for her future.

You can listen to the clip here.

Class of 2019 Pursues Education in 26 States
Melina Weil

Eighty-nine percent of graduates in the class of 2019 will continue their studies at four-year colleges, two-year community colleges, and vocational and technical schools. 59 percent of students are pursuing degrees at four-year colleges and universities. The class of 2019 will continue its studies at post-secondary institutions in 26 states. 

McHenry County College, Illinois State University, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are the top three schools the class of 2019 will attend this fall. Students are most interested in studying health/non-medical science, business, and engineering. Twelve students plan to serve in the armed forces. 

Ninety-two percent of students say their experience in school allowed them to learn more about themselves and their personal aspirations. 

Eighty-seven percent of the class of 2019 participated in at least one extracurricular activity. 

  • 32% - Arts
  • 55% - Academic

  • 59% - Athletics

Sixty-nine percent participated in volunteer/community service project not sponsored at Cary-Grove. There were 411 graduates in the class of 2019. 

Community High School District 155 has conducted a uniform, district-wide senior survey for the last 12 years. 


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.