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

Industry Professionals and Students Collaborate to Remodel Auto Shop Floor
Alex LeMoine

Bryan Peckhart, the Industry and Careers division leader at Prairie Ridge High School, organized a unique opportunity to give students hands-on experience with machinery while improving school facilities through donations from local manufacturers. By partnering with local industry professionals, Prairie Ridge students were able to participate in the remodeling of their school’s auto shop floor.

“We got the kids here learning about what it’s like to put in a floor and all of the labor-intensive things that go along with it,” Peckhart said. “They’re on some of the grinders and machines as well, to get a feel for what it looks like to go through this process.”

Peckhart reached out to Nick Gawlik, a sales manager at Ruwac USA, to ask if his company would be willing to donate materials or machinery to offset the cost of redoing the auto shop floor. Gawlik agreed to help and contacted Josh Jones, president of Substrate Technology, Inc., for additional contributions towards the remodeling project.

“We always try to help out when we can,” said Gawlik. “For us, it’s training the next generation, letting them know about opportunities.”

The project was opened to students in the Prairie Ridge autos program who wanted hands-on experience, providing them the opportunity to work with industry professionals and operate equipment while giving back to their program. Students even held a vote to determine the appearance of the finished floor. When asked about his experience, Keel Brossard, a rising sophomore, commented that he had the opportunity to handle several pieces of machinery, from the vacuum to the floor grinder itself.

“I’m really intrigued by what they’re doing here, and I think it’ll be fun for our future education in this class,” said Brossard.

Josh Jones noted his enthusiasm regarding working with the Prairie Ridge students.

“It’s exciting to spend time with the next generation of workers,” said Jones. “The thing I would hope there would be exposure to is just how stuff is made. What they’re going to see is how the floor becomes a finished product.”

Summer Meal Distribution Available Through August 9
Alex LeMoine

FREE meals will continue to be distributed once a week throughout the summer. Meals will be available for pick up each Monday beginning Monday, May 24 to Monday, August 9 at Crystal Lake Central High School (45 W. Franklin Ave.) at the field house entrance off of Walkup Ave.

To accommodate summer holidays, meals will be distributed on Tuesday, June 1 and Tuesday, July 6.

Please email with any questions regarding summer meal distribution.

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.

Prairie Ridge Automotive Students Earn ASE Certifications
Alex LeMoine

Seven students enrolled in Autos Seminar at Prairie Ridge High School have successfully earned Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications. This certification program is meant for professionals in the automotive industry to demonstrate their training in service and repair skills. 

After passing the maintenance and light repair test, Austin Reimer, Rylie Halpert, Donald Dalton, Brennan Backe, Christian Elliott, Patrick Weiler and John Martino now hold the G-1 ASE Entry Level Certification.  

Stiljan Agolli, an autos teacher at Prairie Ridge who holds his own industry-level ASE certifications, became aware of a student certification program and applied to become a testing center for the ASE Entry Level Program.

“ASE is the highest and most respected certification in this field. Shops and individuals that are ASE certified show that they are up to date on industry standard training and qualified for service and repair,” said Agolli. 

These certifications require a lot of study time and dedication to the industry. The Autos curriculum at Prairie Ridge is focused on the skills and knowledge that will prepare students for the various tests offered by the ASE program. There will be more opportunities for students to earn more certifications this school year. 

“This year, I wanted to start out with Autos Seminar, a third level autos class, and get those students certified as they are or will be working in the field at some point in time,” said Agolli.