By Bob Trott


ROCKTON – Candice Cortese and Charlene Stahl of the Hononegah School District staff are candidates this year for “Those Who Excel” recognition in Illinois, Principal Eric Flohr reported at a regular school board meeting Wednesday, Sept. 16.

About Stahl, the Flohr said, “She sees adolescents become adults. She keeps calm and low-key, and is doing a job she loved for over 20 years.”

The principal said Cortese, a high school math teacher, is always available to provide additional help to students, and to work on teaching strategy. A Those Who Excel banquet is scheduled for Oct. 17, Flohr reported.

Special Ed. Internship

Special Education Teacher Justin Wieman introduced the school’s Special Education Internship Program. Flohr said Life Skills Coordinator Jim LaForge and Wieman were among the staff who got the program started several years ago.

The internship program is a partnership with local businesses and other entities to bring Special Education students into the workforce. Flohr said he made two presentations to Wal-Mart concerning the program.

Besides busnesses, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Whitman Post, Winnebago County Animal Shelter and Roscoe Physical Therapy are among participants in the internship program.

Girls’ Soccer Head Coach Jay Bigwood reported an overnight retreat to Kilbuck Creek, just south of Rockford, next March 5-6, is planned for his team. He said players would pay to go on the retreat. Later in the meeting, the board approved the request.

Hononegah March Band Drum Majors Aurora Shulz, Kelsey Peshek and Holly Black were recognized. They stressed how much they have learned from being drum majors, and School Board President Dave Kurlinkus presented them with a certificate of appreciation, and said they were very, very good at the Hononegah-Boylan varsity football game the Friday before.

Building and Grounds Director Bob Braico led school board members and administrators on a tour showing items the district has, such as new graphic arts equipment, CNC mills and a remodeled athletic director’s office. CNC milling is a specific form of computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining.

Superintendent Lynn Gibson reported she and Board President Dave Kurlinkus attended an informational meeting concerning the potential for a county facilities sales tax.

They said officials of the Rockford School District are in favor of the tax, and Rockford has a high-enough percentage of students in its county (62) to bring the issue to a vote.

At the polls, it would take more than 50-percent of the vote to approve it, they reported.

Only 33 of 102 counties in Illinois have the county facilities tax, Kurlinkus said. He and Gibson said it could bring in $1.2 million, to Hononegah.

Incubator Program

Executive Associate Principal Chad Dougherty’s report featured a look at Barrington High School’s Incubator program. Through the program, architects of the class try to challenge 16- and 17-year-olds to form their own startup companies. It features a prize of $10,000 in startup money as motivation for the most viable company with the best pitch to investors.

This summer, Hononegah’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department Coodinator Jason Brunke attended a training with the INCubatoredu developers at a Barrington HIgh School open house.

Also attending was Chuck Gilbert, director of Sales and Marketing for Hendricks Holding Company, a mentor for the Incubator class.

Dougherty’s report to the school board Sept. 16 said Hononegah will host an open house Nov. 3 for regional schools looking at the INCubator course as an option to strengthen their CTE programs. The report added Brunke will make a presentation concerning Incubator at the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) Joint Annual Conference this November.


This year’s Homecoming theme is, “Marvelous,” reported Collin O’Sullivan, student council representative at school board meetings. Spirit days that week are: American Day, Camo Day, Mom/Dad Day, Superhero Day and the annual Purple and Gold Day. The Friday, Oct. 2 Homecoming game is against Rockford Auburn, and those other events will all be held that week.

According to O’Sullivan’s report, new clubs at Hononegah are: Fencing, Stagehands and Men’s Choir. Back to School Night was Sept. 1, and fall play tryouts are being held. The play is in November.


Athletic Director Steve Cofoid’s report included the following:

* The varsity boys’ and girls’ cross country won the Ben Newsome Invitatonal Sept. 2, at Searls Park in Rockford. The freshman-sophomore boys’ team also won that meet.

* All levels of high school football started out 2-0. The varsity since moved its record to 3-0.

* Girls’ swimming started out 4-0 in the NIC-10 Conference. The team has 49 members-three of whom are divers.

* Junior Varsity Cheer has 26 freshmen and sophomore girls, total. Attendance for the squad has been excellent.

Other business

* Construction of a shed for the football stadium was approved by the school board Sept. 16.

* The board approved requests of three students to graduate early.

* Board members approved personnel moves, such as resignations, leaves-of-absence and hiring of certified staff, athletic staff, volunteers and substitute teachers.

* Associate Principal Kathy Eckmann’s report showed Hononegah’s American College Testing (ACT) scores exceed the state average for the last five years, through the Class of 2015, in the areas of: English, Math, Reading and Science. Associate Principal Dougherty said Hononegah officials intend to keep the ACT testing, although the state has switched to Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing.

* Hononegah received Equalized, Assessed Valuation (EAV) estimates, and they are increased for the first time in seven years. Totals for the last four years are: 2012, $671,712,399; 2013, $644,059,527; 2014, $633,962,802; and 2015, $648,353,977 (estimate).

* Assistant Superintendent Kim Suedbeck’s report said Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Rock Valley College (RVC) have a new partnership. Starting in the fall of 2016, students will be able to earn an Associate’s Degree in Engineering from RVC and a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from NIU, both from the RVC campus.

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