John Hersey High School

1900 East Thomas Street

Arlington Heights, IL 60004

© 2018 by The Dispatch. All rights reserved.


A "Funner" Day for Huskies & Special Education Students
by: Amelia Zollner and Claire Dwyer

Students in Service Over Self and special education students from around Arlington Heights gathered in the field house for Funner Olympics on May 22.

Every year, Funner Olympics hosts a variety of games and activities. Some students acted as a buddy for the special education students while others ran booths, allowing for a wide variety of games and activities that students were free to navigate their ways through. “I liked running a booth because I got to interact with many different children instead of just one,” sophomore Lauren Steininger said.

Funner Olympics provided an opportunity for special education students to try new activities. “[Something new I tried was] the party bus,” Jocelyn Doby, a student from Miner School, said. From flying kites to sidewalk chalk, plenty of activities are available to capture each student’s unique interests.

The young students aren’t the only ones who enjoy the experience. JHHS student quote. High school students find joy through giving back to the community and interacting with the students.

“I was able to connect with my buddy at funner Olympics particularly through dancing,” sophomore Joanna Malec said. “She had such an amazing attitude the whole day and loved to dance all over the dance area.”

The teachers of the young students laud the event as an opportunity for their young students to reach outside of their comfort zone and as a break from their typical routine.“They really look forward to it every year. They love having a high school buddy for the day, and getting to be with their peers, but in a different, less restrictive environment. It’s a great opportunity for them to grow socially too. It’s a fun day, all about them, and I know they really appreciate and enjoy it. Even if they can’t quite articulate it the way we can,” Corrie Freres, a teacher at Miner School, said.

With hopes to continue this unique tradition for years to come, students are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead, recognizing that the months of planning the event pay off with the smiles that the event creates. 

“The other kids and buddies at Funner Olympics seemed to be having an amazing time! Everywhere I looked I saw smiles and laughter making the whole environment an amazing one to experience,” Malec said. “It felt really good seeing so many Hersey students help out in such a unique day.”

Graduation Seating Brings Stress
by: Claire Dwyer

Graduation season is rapidly approaching, and with the joy and excitement for many graduates, there is also stress. From receiving enough tickets for the ceremony, seating at the ceremony, along with pictures and other logistics, seniors have a lot to plan out leading up to graduation day celebrations.

The ticket policy for graduation is very strict. Every graduate receives 4 tickets, and with every family receiving no more than 7 tickets during the ticket lottery in February, there is sometimes a scramble to receive extra tickets. “I was able to get enough tickets as I wasn’t inviting many family. If I had tried to invite everyone I wanted to then I definitely would not have had enough tickets,” senior Lucy Bornhorst said.

Due to the limited seating capacity of the gym, with 2000 seats available in the gym and an additional 475 tickets available in the theater, tickets are almost always extremely limited.

However, some graduates enjoy the limited number of tickets available. “Only the people in my immediate family want to come and they are covered,” senior Cassidy Ginder said. “I wish they could fit everyone into the gym, but the theater is a nice option for grandparents and other relatives that need better seats than the bleachers,” Bornhorst said. 

Some students believe an outdoor ceremony could be a possible solution. “If it’s outside, hopefully then you could have more family members there. I’m really worried we won’t have enough tickets because we have a massive family,” junior Dana Palmer said. 

However, even with the possibilities of an outdoor ceremony allowing for more space, the question of the weather always loom.  “For the current system, I think that it is nice to have technological availabilities in the gym, such as air conditioning and easier microphone control, but I would not have a problem with them moving the ceremony outside. I think that the current processes are easier though because they are not weather dependent,” Ginder said.

Some schools have graduation ceremonies at other venues for increased seating capacity, which some believe could be a possible solution to seating capacity limitations. “I know Fremd does theirs at the Sear Center, which would be a better spot as we could fit lots of people, and it would be better seats,” Bornhorst said.

Upcoming seniors, however, hope to see some changes with the current system. “The gym is just so crowded, and hot, and just really congested. I remember the Thomas graduation was just really crowded,” junior Gwen Scott said.

​Proposed Club Encourages Girls in STEM
by: Claire Dwyer

Women comprise approximately half of the US workforce, but only 29% are in STEM related fields, according to the National Girls Collaboration Project. In addition, of this 29%, only 25% are in the field of computer science and only 15% are in the field of engineering.

Rising seniors Amélie Smithson and Karolina Groszewska have a plan to try and change some of these statistics. The pair introduced a plan to establish a new computer coding club, called Techettes, with an emphasis on encouraging girls into STEM related fields. 

“Our goal for the club is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for girls interested in learning about Computer Science. We hope to teach girls about coding and about the opportunities out there for them in Computer Science,” Smithson said.

STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math, is one of the fastest growing fields in the workforce. And although women earn nearly 60% of all bachelor’s degrees in the US as of 2013, but only 18% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science majors. The lack of gender diversity has prompted some to take action at an earlier stage, exposing female students to STEM opportunities at a younger age.

Starting next school year, Smithson and Groszewska hope the club brings new opportunities and resources for beginning and expert coders alike. With a final goal of possibly coding a complete video game, the two hope to spark student’s interests in STEM related majors and careers. The club is also ideal for students who may have limited flexibility in their schedules to take a full computer science course.

Techettes also hopes to curb some negative stereotypes associated with STEM related careers.  When middle school aged girls were asked to describe what they thought of when they heard of a coder, Fortune reports that students often responded with “nerdy” or “a man”. With an encouraging club supporting students every step of the way, Smithson and Groszewska hope to shed light on the positives of gender diversity in computer science. 

​First Dance Marathon Makes a Big Impact For the Kids
by: Claire Dwyer

The inaugural Dance Marathon was held on March 9 in the Carter Gym. The new school fundraiser, benefiting patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, raised $25,921.


The event was sponsored by SOS, partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network. Money raised provides patients with cutting edge treatments and medical equipment and supports the many doctors, nurses, and researchers at Lurie’s who provide high quality care to thousands of children annually.


For the inaugural event, students wore all white outfits including the program’s “For The Kids” t-shirts.


Health and PE classes learned dances to participate in throughout the night, in addition to a homecoming-like atmosphere complete with a DJ. “It was very fun. It was similar to a school dance, but we are all there to support a common cause and it was just dancing the entire time,” junior Lia Sommer said.


Although the dancing was the highlight of the event, other activities throughout the night included raffles, a lip sync battle of juniors against seniors, and a ten minute turbo. In addition, students heard stories from families that the Children’s Miracle Network helps support through dance marathons.


Various teams even participated in a game of tug of war. “The tug of war was really fun because I got to participate with my teammates. It was a great team bonding activity,” senior Claire Lutz said, who participated in the event with her water polo team.


In addition to these activities, teachers also participated in a contest to get “pied” during the event. Teachers who raised the most money were “pied”. “It was good to see teachers also participating in the event and that they were really invested in it too,” Sommer said.

Poetry Out Loud Comes to Hersey
by: Claire Dwyer

As second semester starts up, the English department’s new all-school assignment, Poetry Out Loud is underway. The unique assignment, for students of all grade levels, is bringing the student body together for the nationwide contest.


The assignment is simple: students in all English classes are to memorize and perform a poem to their class. Classmates vote for a representative from their class to participate in the school wide contest. Winners of the school wide test go to the regional competition in Chicago, where they will compete with others for prize money.  “There’s a general positive buzz, and I think the reason for this positive buzz is that we’re all in this together,” English teacher Lara Becker said.


Poetry Out Loud is a national organization dedicated to teaching students about poetry in the classroom and teach public speaking skills. “It was such a joy, because every single kid was really trying, it was so cute. They were really trying to give each poem its due merit with the speaker’s intent,” Becker said.


The state contest winner receives $200 in prize money and money for the trip to the National Finals in Washington DC. The National Finals are scheduled for April 30- May 1, 2019, and the state finals will be held in mid-March.


In Distirct 214, both Wheeling and Rolling Meadows High School are also participating in the competition. “We had district workshops in the summer. At our district workshop this summer, Rolling Meadows High School is working on something and Wheeling High School I believe is working on something, too, and i know for sure they are also participating as well,” Becker said.


As for choosing their poems, students were given a lot of freedom with a variety of options from the Poetry Out Loud website. Freshman chose poems related to identity, Sophomores chose poems that related to archetypes, juniors chose poems written by American authors, and seniors were assigned to choose poems from specific time periods. “When I was choosing a poem, I knew I wanted something that wasn’t too difficult to memorize but also on a topic that was interesting,” junior Isa Hahn said.


Although the idea of reciting a poem in front of an audience seems daunting, English teachers have plenty of useful tips to help students succeed. ”The biggest tip I can give anyone who is in Poetry Out Loud is practice. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, perform for an audience, because when you practice the more comfortable you will be with your performance,” Ams said.


A main takeaway of the all-school assignment has been the unifying factor. “I’ve heard seniors talking with freshmen, and sophomores talking with juniors, and it’s just kind of cool. There’s a common assignment for every single level and if nothing else you have this, ‘What poem are you doing?’” Becker said.


With students of all skillsets given the same task, it creates meaningful connections. “It was fun to hear other people’s poems and it was fascinating to think about the deep meaning of poetry,” freshman Ila Nathanson said.


As students rally together to achieve this school wide assignment, the real meaning behind the competition is not lost on teachers. “This is very different than a Google slide presentation. It is challenging, and that’s good. We should challenge ourselves,” Becker said.

50th Anniversary Homecoming Open House
by: Claire Dwyer

At the 50th Homecoming open house, alumni and staff got the opportunity to reminisce on the past fifty years of Hersey and their high school memories. The alumni open house, held in the East Gym, had yearbooks, newspaper articles, and memorabilia for alumni, staff, students, and family and friends to look back on and see the changes from the past fifty years.


Alumni also got the chance to tour the building and interact with current staff and students.


“It was really cool seeing so many people that used to go to Hersey. I met a bunch of people who graduated in the 1970s,” junior Erin Rodriguez said. “Also, I was standing by the East Gym, and this part of the school is fairly new, so it was cool to see everyone’s reactions. They were all especially amazed at our weight room.”


“This [small gym] was all outdoor space. The band was exactly the same, it was so funny and so was the theater and the Home Ec. room were the same. We used to call it the little theater but I don’t know why,” alumna Lynn Ekblad Sotlar (‘70) said.


Alumni shared memories of their favorite teachers, classes, and activities from their high school years. “The band was just the best thing in my whole life here. It totally changed my life. Mr. Caneva [the first band director] was a life changer and I think everyone in band would say that,” Sotlar said.


As alumni discussed their favorite teachers and classes, the lasting positive impact in their lives from these teachers became apparent.


“I was an associate news editor of The Correspondent, I was on it for two to three years it was a great time and it helped my writing skills helped me immensely. My time on The Correspondent taught me to think like a writer,” alumnus Bill Regan (‘72) said. “Mr. Wilferd [The Correspondent’s first adviser] made us think of five ideas of news stories every week. We were trained to constantly think of ideas to write about, and it really stimulated our creative thinking, which helped so much for my future career in the corporate world.”


Former teachers also got a chance to explore the school and talk to former students. Former French teacher Suzanne Sharer shared her memories from her first year teaching, “I was here on opening day because it was my student teaching year. It was actually the very first day the school opened. NIU sent me here because I was student teaching that year. I started student teaching at Hersey in the spring, and i was hired the for the following school year in September,” Sharer said.


Sharer taught from 1968 to 2002.


The 50th anniversary was a celebration of Hersey’s unique culture and the students and staff that have shaped it over the years.

To see footage of this event, click here.  Video by Hannah Grawe

Lemonade for Lendino's
by: Claire Dwyer

After a tragic car accident that killed rising Junior Alyssa Lendino friends and family, such as juniors Taylor Hall and Dana Lundstrom decided to help the Lendino family anyway they could. Even with a successful Go-Fund Me campaign, friends decided they wanted to do even more to help.  The idea of setting up lemonade stands around the community came up as a way to inform the community and support the Lendino family.


“Our friend group over the summer [with Alyssa] always wanted to do a lemonade stand. We did one last summer, too,” Hall said.


“We were trying to think of something that would make money to support them, because they already had the go fund me, but we didn’t know what else to do and to get the community to know about it,” Lundstrom said. “We thought ‘Oh let’s do this after church or at the car show so more people would see it.’”


“It was like a wave,” said Hall.


Throughout the weekend of August 3rd, the Mount Prospect community rallied together and supported a dozen lemonade stands from St. Emily’s Church to the Mount Prospect Lions Club’s Bluesmobile Cruise Night. “Even people who didn’t want lemonade just came over and gave us money saying, ‘Keep it, keep it,’ It was amazing,” Hall said.


“A lot of police officers at the auto show donated money, it was really kind,” Lundstrom said. “As soon as we had fliers and started handing them out, more people started coming because they realized, like, we didn’t just want money,” Hall said.


In addition to families and community events hosting lemonade stands, local businesses pitched in to help as well.


“At Capannari’s, if you ordered a limoncello, so almost like lemonade, half of the money would go to Alyssa’s family. Also, if you went to Mrs. P & Me and mentioned them, you could get 10% off your bill to go to the family,” Lundstrom said.


The success of the lemonade stand quickly led to more, including one at an Indian Princesses Car Wash at Grace Lutheran Church. “It was so cool to see how many people knew about it before we even said anything. When we handed them the flier, people would say, ‘Oh I heard about this,’ It was really neat to see,” Hall said.  


Overall, about 20 Hersey students helped out at the different lemonade stands each day. “There really were a lot, between who made posters, who were there and who stopped in. A bunch of Hersey students and students from around the area stopped by,” Lundstrom said. “We also had a wagon that we took to the train station and got a lot of people who were going to Lollapalooza.”


In addition to the Lemonade for the Lendino’s fundraiser, the track team, which Lendino was a member of, started a shoe fundraiser through the organization Sneakers4Funds. Gym shoes donated to Hersey or a variety of UPS stores throughout the suburbs will raise money for the Lendino family.

To see footage from the event, click here.  Video by Hannah Grawe.