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Four D155 Students Named National Merit® Semifinalists
Kari Firak

The National Merit® Scholarship Program named four District 155 seniors as 2023 National Merit® Semifinalists. The semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and are the highest-scoring students in each state.

Trini Feng - Crystal Lake South
Grace Moore - Crystal Lake Central
Madison Ross - Crystal Lake South
Erin Wadzinski - Cary-Grove

Trini Feng, a senior at Crystal Lake South, earned the title of state champion in the 2022 ACES Academic Challenge competition in the area of English. Trini is active in extracurriculars; a member of band and marching band, the math team, ACES Academic Challenge Team, and a writer for Gator Prints. Outside of school Trini enjoys creative writing and playing piano. Post high school she is considering computer science and pursuing a job in technology.

Grace Moore is a senior at Crystal Lake Central and has a strong interest in advocating for youth perspectives and mental health awareness. She is an honorary youth board member at the National Alliance for Mental Health Illinois of McHenry County (NAMI), founder and president of the Model United Nations team at Crystal Lake Central, and co-captain of the Varsity Cross Country team. Grace plans on applying to colleges in the Northeast with a major in political science or international politics.  
Madison Ross is the founder of the Model United Nations Club and involved in National Honors Society at Crystal Lake South. She’s also involved in Student Council, Gator Buddies, Gator Prints, Spanish Club, and Speech Team. With a passion for discovering the role monetary funding has on the largest world problems, she plans to study economics and political science post graduation. 

Erin Wadzinski, a senior at Cary-Grove, is deeply involved in her Cary-Grove community. She is a captain of the varsity volleyball team and a state qualifier for the Academic Challenge Team, a board member for Interact and Student Council, and organized the first inaugural Peach Fuzz volleyball game. Erin is also a member of the National Honors Society and was recognized as an Advanced Placement® Scholar with honors. Outside of school, she volunteers her time with the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) and Purrfect Cat Rescue. In college, Erin would like to study psychology with the intention of pursuing law in the future. 

High school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Students will find out if they have advanced to Finalist standing in February 2022. Beginning in March 2021, National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and ending in July.

All D155 Schools Nationally Ranked in the Top 8 Percent
Kari Firak

District 155 schools have all ranked in the top eight percent nationally and the top 12 percent in the state according to U.S. News and World Report's Best Public High Schools 2022 list. Twenty-four thousand public high schools throughout the country were evaluated, with results based state exam performance and college preparedness. 

All D155 schools ranked in the top 100 in Illinois; with Cary-Grove earning the no. 54 spot in the state, Prairie Ridge earned no. 55, Crystal Lake South sits at no. 66, and Crystal Lake Central is at no. 83 in Illinois rankings. More than seven-hundred schools in Illinois were evaluated for this prestigious list.

"This type of prestigious recognition is a testament to the supportive families in District 155 along with the staff and students' determination and dedication towards learning." said Steve Olson, D155 Superintendent, "Our mission is to empower students to Enter with Promise and Leave with Purpose. These rankings are proof of our commitment to excellence and preparing students for the future."

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

CLC Woods Class Builds Habitat for Humanity Home
Kari Firak

Mr. Bacak's industrial tech class has been building a portion of a house for Habitat for Humanity. After carefully constructing to specs, this segment will be delivered to the Habitat site in Crystal Lake and assembled with the rest of the house.

Maine East also constructed a portion of this home, providing many construction students with real-world, hands-on experience.

"This class is a great opportunity for students thinking about a trades related career while giving them a chance to give back to their community," said Mr. Bacak. "It exposes them to real world project-based problem solving while reinforcing their already acquired skill set in math and english."

CLC Junior Selected as Honorary Youth Board Member of NAMI McHenry County
Kari Firak

Junior Grace Moore was selected as an Honorary Youth Board Member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for McHenry County, the only D155 student to to currently claim this honor.

According to Moore, she will be focusing on political advocacy and legislation support, "I really want to go into political science, I see this as a way to help my community and support under-served areas and help change the world a little bit."

After graduating from the Leadership of Greater McHenry County Youth Program, Grace saw this as her next opportunity to help the community. Through her new position, she advocates for NAMI in schools and supports the director's decisions regarding which bills to support in the Illinois State Senate.

Congratulations, Grace, we can't wait to see the impact you make at NAMI! 

District 155 Art Students Receive $5.6 Million in IHSAE Scholarships
Kari Firak

Art students throughout the district received $5,695,000 in art scholarship offers this year from the Illinois High School Art Exhibition/Art ConnectED. Thirteen D155 seniors were also selected to showcase their artwork in the 2022 Senior Scholarship Exhibition at the Bridgeport Art Center on March 13, an honor extended only to select scholarship recipients. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to have their artwork reviewed by a large number of colleges,” said Crystal Lake Central art teacher Kerry Parrish. “The scholarship money students have been offered can change a student's college choice.”

The Senior Scholarship Exhibition brought together elite student artists from 130 Illinois high schools to compete and celebrate their artist achievements; it is the state's most prominent student scholarship exhibition. In addition to the Senior Scholarship Exhibition, IHSAE hosted two other programs.

The Northern Regional Exhibition “Best of the Best” featuring over 500 works of art competing for prestigious awards, and “The Art Throwdown”, a visual arts contest where students compete in a timed art challenge. These programs offer additional scholarship opportunities for competing students. Twenty-one D155 students were selected to exhibit in the Best of the Best show and five competed in The Art Throwdown.

The mission of IHSAE, now Art ConnectED, is to advance art education for young people by providing art exhibition and education opportunities that celebrate students' artistic achievement, promote mastery and ingenuity in learning, and facilitate post-secondary opportunities. To date, Art ConnectED has provided $360 million in senior scholarship offers and $500,000 in early college program scholarships since 2013.