Hononegah School Board honors outstanding students and Golden Apple winning teacher


Scholastic Bowl, Special Olympics, Golden Apple

At their March 2022 meeting, Hononegah Community High School's Board of Education featured outstanding students and a teacher who was honored with a Golden Apple.

HCHS Principal Chad Dougherty gave special recognition to the Scholastic Bowl team, congratulating them on their Regional Championship.

“Our Quiz Bowl team was on the Bergstrom Quiz Bowl [TV show] where they beat Christian Life,” Dougherty said. “If any one of you questions this generation, you need to go to a scholastic bowl match. They have incredible academic knowledge, skills; and as a team have total recall. They always show great sportsmanship.”

Scholastic Bowl coach Mrs. Ballard thanked the graduating seniors who helped the team be able to get a new buzzer system. “This has been a wonderful journey; you are leaving us in a really good place. Thanks for being really good role models,” Ballard said.

Next to receive well-earned kudos were Amanda Lawrence who is in cross country and track, and Arun Kumar who is in tennis and bowling. Lawrence was named to the 26-member All-State Academic Team, while Kumar was named to the 50-member Honorable Mention team. Each school in the state may nominate one female and one male student, but only a few are selected.

Both students have earned a GPA of at least 3.5, have participated in at least two IHSA sponsored activities in the last two years, and have demonstrated outstanding citizenship during their school career. Dougherty shared different areas that each student serves in.

Mrs. Jean Chambers was named a “Golden Apple Educator of Excellence.” Dougherty read excerpts from a letter of recommendation he had sent on to the Golden Apple Foundation Committee. “I talked about my son's experience in Mrs. Chamber's classroom and her relationships that she builds with the kids. She always supports students who are in need.”

“I have been very fortunate to teach here these past 24 years with these wonderful students,” Chambers replied.

All of the students and Mrs. Chambers were presented with a certificate from Board of Education President Dave Kurlinkus.

Mrs. Chambers, who serves as the English Department chair, then made a presentation to the board. She spoke about vertical alignment, and developing reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. “We want students to be successful in school and in their careers,” Chambers said.

Chambers outlined the use of common language, journalism, and helping students who struggle when speaking in public.

The English department is integral to clubs and they are very involved in the school. The Page Turners, Literary Enthusiasts and a Writers Club all fit into this sector.

Chambers ended her presentation with a Jane Austen quote on the importance of reading.

Board member and retired Hononegah principal Eric Flohr reflected, “I always call reading the 'vacuum of the mind.' You are a tremendous teacher for all students,” Flohr told Chambers.

Madison Bunger reported on the Student Council. “The Senior Class is planning a trip to the Milwaukee Zoo. The Council is preparing for elections and in choosing representatives. On April 19 a blood drive and a teacher appreciation day are being planned.”

Key Club has nominated next year's Board of Directors and is working on a senior sunrise event.

Students who have been chosen to serve in the National Honor Society were inducted on April 4.

Several sports teams were recognized in the Athletic Director's report. He named outstanding athletes in different sports. Most notably, the Special Olympics team were state champs in basketball.

Associate Principal Kathy Eckmann spoke about summer school options. If students need a specific number of credits, they can be earned by doing summer school course work. “In 2021 summer school was done remotely,” Eckmann said. Later in the meeting, the summer school proposal was approved by the Board of Education.

Eckmann also reported that state-mandated assessments would be done through taking SAT and PSAT tests. “We have 21 English language learners, which is an increase,” Eckman said.

Construction classes at Hononegah collaborated with Habitat for Humanity in building walls for a Habitat home in the Rockford region. A crew from Apex General Construction and Maplehurst assisted as well. “This collaboration is great for our kids,” Hononegah Community High School Principal Chad Dougherty said.

Kendra Asbury reviewed open positions of significance, adding, “We need club advisers and interviews will be done in April. We are also working on two para-professionals becoming teachers. This will help to provide more teachers to cover for a shortage.”

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