School News

Students Participate in September 11th Ceremony
Shannon Podzimek

Eight students representing District 155’s four high schools participated in the American Legion’s ‘A Day to Remember’ ceremony on September 11 at Union Cemetery in Crystal Lake.

The day marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Crystal Lake Fire Department and Police Department along with Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian participated in the program and it included a keynote speech from Lt. Col. US Army (Ret.) Ryan Yantis. Lt. Col. Yantis is a Crystal Lake resident and a decorated 9/11 Pentagon survivor who was in the Pentagon when the plane struck.

American Legion Post 171 displayed American flags to represent those who lost their lives on September 11 and in the days following. 

The following students carried their school flags to show support in remembrance of the victims.

Nolan Sharkey & Andrew Mohr, Cary-Grove High School
Noah Quinones & Connor Lezama, Crystal Lake Central High School
Laci Plote & Zayden Beasley, Crystal Lake South High School
Gracie Willis & Anna Siegwald, Prairie Ridge High School

Final Air Conditioning Phase Completed at CLC
Shannon Podzimek

The third and final phase of air conditioning installation was completed at Crystal Lake Summer this summer. Over the past four years, District 155 has invested over $2 million in air conditioning renovations at CLC to enhance the learning environment and improve our facilities based on feedback from the students, staff, and community members of Crystal Lake Central.

Beginning in 2018, phase one included the installation of air conditioning units in the cafeteria, and continued in 2019 with the remainder of the east side of the building. In the summer of 2020, phase two included the installation of a chiller and air conditioning units throughout the second floor and the west side of the building. The final phase was completed this summer with the addition of air conditioning for the library offices and throughout the first floor on the west side of the building.

CLC Class of 2021 Earns Over $3 Million in Scholarships
Shannon Podzimek

This year’s CLC graduating class includes 323 graduates who earned $3,099,183 in scholarships. Eighty-nine percent of graduates are continuing their education at four-year universities, two-year universities, technical/vocational schools, or trade and apprenticeship programs. 

The class of 2021 will be studying in 17 states. The most popular college destinations for these students are McHenry County College, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri and Iowa State University.  

Graduates are pursuing various fields. Thirty-six percent of students will study careers in the science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field, 18 percent will study advertising, arts, communications, marketing, or public relations, and finally, 12 percent of students will study education.

Nine CLC students are serving in the Armed Forces after graduation. Two students will serve in the Marines, one will serve in the Air Force, six in the Navy, three in the Army, two in the Navy, and one student will serve in the Coast Guard.

D155 Schools Nationally Recognized by U.S. News & World Report
Alex LeMoine

U.S. News & World Report ranked all four District 155 high schools in the top twelve percent of high schools ranked nationwide and all four high schools earned a spot in the top 100 in the state of Illinois. 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.

Nationwide, nearly 24,000 public high schools in all 50 states were considered and approximately 17,860 were ranked. Cary-Grove ranked 1,500th, Prairie Ridge ranked 1,536th, Crystal Lake South ranked 1,617th and Crystal Lake Central ranked 2,142nd.

In Illinois, 647 schools were considered. Cary-Grove placed 63rd in the state and Prairie Ridge was right behind, ranking 65th in Illinois. Crystal Lake South came in 73rd overall, and Crystal Lake Central was ranked 89th. 

“Each year, I am incredibly proud of the work of our outstanding students and staff that has earned all four D155 buildings a place on this list,” said Steve Olson, superintendent of District 155. “The dedication and perseverance our teachers and staff have displayed in order to continue to provide meaningful education to our students, even in the midst of adversity, is truly inspiring. We look forward to continuing to offer a first-rate educational experience to our students and community.”

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

CLC Head Football Coach Named Chicago Bears “Coach of the Week”
Alex LeMoine

Crystal Lake Central High School’s head varsity football coach, Jon McLaughlin was named the Chicago Bears high school “Coach of the Week”. He was announced as “Coach of the Week” on Friday, April 9 after Crystal Lake Central’s overtime win against Prairie Ridge High School on April 1. 

The 14-13 victory marked the Tiger football team’s first win over Prairie Ridge since 2012. In honor of the award, the Chicago Bears will make a $2,000 donation to the Crystal Lake Central High School football program.

“I was honored to be selected for this award. It is really more of a statement for our program and all of the hard work that the players and coaches have put into this season. Nonetheless, we still have more work to do," said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin has served as Crystal Lake Central’s head football coach for 12 years. He also currently serves as a social science teacher.

The Chicago Bears “Coach of the Week” program was launched in 1996 and “High School All-Star” program in 2011. The “Coach of the Week” program honors outstanding Illinois high school coaches who develop players’ football skills and knowledge, character, leadership, discipline and teamwork abilities. 

Deserving high school coaches and players are nominated by a panel of local prep authorities and the winning player is selected each week from March 25-April 29. Since the program’s inception, the Bears have donated more than $311,500 to Illinois high schools in support of their football programs. For more information, please visit