School News

CLC Teacher Named Outstanding Educator by University of Chicago
Alex LeMoine

Joe Schroeder, a chemistry teacher at Crystal Lake Central High School, was recognized by the University of Chicago with the Outstanding Educator award for excellence in teaching and mentorship. Schroeder was nominated by his former student and Central graduate, Robert Heidt, who he taught in both Honors and AP® Chemistry.

Each year, the University of Chicago asks first-year students to nominate an educator who influenced them, inspired them and shaped their intellectual growth. They receive hundreds of nominations from students.

When asked what it takes to be an outstanding educator, Schroeder said, “To form trusting relationships with the students. Then once that trusting relationship is formed, we should set the bar as high as possible. If we set the bar high for them, they'll work to reach that bar--especially if they see us working hard for them.”

Schroeder has been an educator for 20 years and has served students in District 155 for 17 years. He currently teaches Honors and AP® Chemistry.

“The most rewarding part of teaching is simple: it’s the actual teaching part. My goal is for every kid to look forward to coming to chemistry every day,” said Schroeder. 

The University of Chicago awarded Joe Schroeder with a plaque and a certificate for his achievement. 

ISAC Names 200 D155 Students as IL State Scholars
Shannon Podzimek

Two hundred D155 seniors were recognized as Illinois State Scholars for their superior academic achievement by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Illinois State Scholars represent approximately the top ten percent of high school seniors from 726 high schools across the state. Students are selected based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.

Each Illinois State Scholar will receive a congratulatory letter and a certificate of achievement from the ISAC.

Congratulations to the following students:

Cary-Grove Community High School (56 Illinois State Scholars)

Boldt, Daniel

Bond, Hailey

Brasch, Colin

Briggs, Jenna

Buck, Jacob

Burtschi, Serena

Caesar, Maxum

Carter, Julia

Clarke, Grace

Coleman, Sara

Conneen, Ted

Demert, Mary

Donfris, Ayden

Drage, Allison

Elbert, Emily

Eleftheriou, Lukas

Fisher, Megan

German, Alexis

Gleason, Eamon

Green, Olivia

Gruen, Ronald

Hennessey, Emma

Henriques, Lauren

Hill, Jessica

Johnson, Kelly

Johnson, Lillian

Jordan, Rachel

Kanellakis, Krystos

Kraft, Charles

Kreher, Kimberly

Lilly, Tayanna

Lopez, Allan

Los, Karina

McAlpine, Colin

McGinley, Hannah

Medynskyj, Maggie

Michie, Laura

Mullins, Gareth

Neckopulos, Sofia

Nollett, Robert

Nordin, Alaina

Patel, Ved

Petersdorff, Lars

Rands, Isaac

Schladt, Olivia

Shymkus, Amelia

Simons, Abigail

Smith, Daphne

Stefani, Charlotte

Takahashi, Samuel

Travia, Katherine

Ulmanis, Emily

Voelz, Kierstin

Wellendorf, Landon

Yokup, Jeremy

Zielinski, Connor


Crystal Lake Central High School (41 Illinois State Scholars)

Augustine, Sophia

Bracher, Willem

Branch, Harold

Brickey, Grace

Brucker, Kelly

Carter, Chloe

Cormier, Elizabeth

Costello, Kathleen

Dunham, Lilly

Fiedler, Spencer

Gancayco, Peter

Gonzalez, Vanessa

Harris, Isabelle

Henrikson, Mia

Jenkins, Andrew

Kempf, Makayla

King, Bernadette

Kruse, Kennedy

Lara, Antonio

Levyne, Jenna

Mannuzza, Anthony

Matik, Charlotte

Mendoza, Ryan

Mize, Owen

Montford, Lucas

Passapera, Rachel

Pierzina, Jackson

Pokora, Blake

Pruszynski, Patryk

Reinier, James

Richard, Ketan

Ryan, Clare

Ryan, Zachary

Soden, Isabel

Steenberg, Acacia

Steinberg, Haley

Trowbridge, Joseph

Vittetoe, Samuel

Volling, Natalie

Walsh, Easton

Witsiepe, Sarah


Crystal Lake South High School (45 Illinois State Scholars)

Barry, Cara

Blake, Sydney

Buckley, Lauren

Carroll, Emma

Chang, Allie

Chemaly, Andrew

Cieslik, Jillian

Daneshbodi, Armin

Fater, Evan

Freeman, Alexander

Garth, Alexa

Houston, Eric

Hufford, Carissa

Jones, Emily

Kaczmarczyk, Lucien

Krol, Joseph

Lin, Connie

Lindstrand, Monet

Liszka, Olivia

Lorenz, Timothy

Lowe, Megan

Marable, Daniel

Mehta, Dhruvi

Mleczko, Emma

Mutka, Elizabeth

Patel, Akash

Patenaude, Gianna

Petrouski, Nina

Pham, Matthew

Pillai, Cyril

Pod, Diana

Rausch, Casandra

Resch, Ashley

Rhoades, Jenna

Rimer, Natalie

Rokusek, Katelyn

Safraniec, Madisen

Schoen, Allison

Schuetzle, Sarah

Sisler, Lilli

Szczepanski, Jacob

Tesorero, Kaithlyn

Thobe, Grace

Trier, Gabrielle

Young, Emily


Prairie Ridge High School (58 Illinois State Scholars)

Akerberg, Kevin

Alvey, Spencer

Anderson, William

Andrlik, Payton

Anlauf, Jack

Bainbridge, Jacob

Bartucci, Jack

Bartucci, Joshua

Batliner, Brian

Brown, Aaliyah

Brown, Samantha

Burseth, Lainey

Dobrzycki, Amy

Drozt, Michael

Fist, Ryan

Gelon, Sara

Gindorf, Jo

Gindorf, Julia

Goudschaal, Ryan

Gregory, Nina

Haegele, Chloe

Hanacek, Leah

Harrell, Braeden

Hassan, Ermina

Hochman, Kayla

Hoika, Amanda

Hutson, Tiffany

Jensen, Amelia

Karim, Sarah

Kay, Sophie

Kmiec, Ashley

Konjeti, Neha

Krcik, Anthony

Kucharski, Daisy

Kusmierz, Elizabeth

Larsen, Michael

Lee, Heidi

Lingner, Nicholas

Lotito, Chase

Mahon, Erin

Michaelson, Caroline

Ostrow, Victoria

Pactol, Matthew

Pokonosky, Lauren

Pollastrini, Sarah

Preves, Collin

Rice, Xander

Richardson, Peyton

Robak, Jenna

Rolls, Julian

Scherrer, Joshua

Tomlin, Avery

Vlk, Sabrina

Vrbancic, Tighe

Wegener, Haley

Wehner, Allison

Williams, Sydney

Zang, Megan


Three D155 Schools Named Best STEM High Schools
Shannon Podzimek

Three District 155 high schools rank among the nation’s Best High Schools in science, technology, engineering and math. Prairie Ridge High School, Cary-Grove High School, and Crystal Lake Central High School earned spots in the top 16 percent on Newsweek’s list.

  • Prairie Ridge High School  - 2,145
  • Cary-Grove High School - 2,660
  • Crystal Lake Central High School - 3,908

Thirty-nine percent of D155 graduates from the class of 2019 are pursuing STEM career paths.

District 155 offers more than 50 STEM courses. D155 was the first district in McHenry County to implement the MobileMakersEdu coding academy at Crystal Lake Central High School during the 2018-19 school year. The Mobile App Development course teaches students to develop fully functioning apps as well as the skills to become part of the fast growing engineering and software design job market. developed a scoring system that analyzes data, what schools offer in STEM fields, and how students are prepared for postsecondary endeavours. Skilled teachers who develop curriculum to provide innovative instruction are also a factor in rankings.

Newsweek released the top STEM High Schools for 2020 on November 8.

D155 Students & Parents Explore Manufacturing Careers
Shannon Podzimek

Eighty-eight students and parents had a unique opportunity to explore local manufacturing careers during the second “Made In Your Own Backyard” event on October 10. The event aims to increase awareness of products manufactured locally; and educate parents and middle and high school students about the diverse manufacturing field.

“I didn’t know that locally they actually make big products like this, so it was really cool,” Dylan Deleon, a Crystal Lake South High School student.

District 155 partnered with feeder districts, General Kinematics, Mathews Company, Precision Waterjet, and Swiss Automation. The Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce founded the event in 2018 and sponsored this year’s event along with the Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce.

“Most kids in today’s world are focused on going to college and we, as America, need people in trades. And, this is a great way to expose them to that,” said Rob Stuebing, a Cary-Grove parent.

The event began with a brief presentation about relevant coursework offered by each D155 high school. Students and parents then toured two manufacturing companies. The event was free to attend because of generous donations from the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce.

“I signed up for it because I’m taking CNC [precision machining] right now and I really think the machines are cool and I wanted to learn more about them,” said Kathryn Thompson, a Cary-Grove High School student.

This open house event is a localized version of MFG Day, a national day of recognition to inspire a future generation of manufacturers.


D155 High Schools Rank in Top 4 in McHenry County
Shannon Podzimek

Chicago magazine recently named the best public schools in the suburbs and all four District 155 schools earned the top four spots in McHenry County. Crystal Lake South High School ranked first, followed by Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, and Cary-Grove. The top 200 best public schools is featured in Chicago magazine’s September issue.

The methodology used included spending per pupil, SAT scores, 5Essentials, attendance, and graduation rate. Data from the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2017-18 school year was used to determine performance measures.

All four District 155 high schools also have been ranked in the top 10 percent nationally by U.S. News & World report and