By Marianne Mueller


Thank you to the Don’t Be Next Foundation who generously donated $5,000 to the music department in honor of Patrick Insko and $5,000 split between the boys and girls golf program in honor of Craig Weaver. The parents of Patrick and Craig (Hononegah alumni) were on stage to assist in presenting the donations. The HCHS Board also recognized students Max Moroz, Laura Mendes, and Delaney Harris for state-level leadership in representing Hononegah on the North Central District Executive Council. Mr. Lawyer and Mrs. Chambers (pictured) as well as Mrs. Christoff and Mrs. Bohn were recognized for their commitment to planning amazing student events such as last year’s Stroll on the Boardwalk and this year’s Homecoming in challenging circumstances. Class of 2022 Student Council members were on hand to support their leaders and added enthusiasm to the meeting.

Hononegah Community High School celebrated successful accomplishments of students, staff and leadership at the September Board of Education meeting on Sept. 15. 

Board President Dave Kurlinkis recognized different correspondence; a portion of letters written by parents addressing this year’s Homecoming events. One letter was written by parent Mrs. Maragia concerning the implementation of the Back to School Plan. 

A new group has been formed called; “Don’t Be Next Foundation” has been formed in honor of friends they have lost. The group is made up of Hononegah graduates from the early 90’s. President of Don’t Be President Matt Weldon spoke about the loss of classmates Patrick Insko and Craig Weaver.

“Patrick Insko was probably one of the most talented musicians. Through this donation it is our hope that kids will become more interested and more equipment can be purchased. We would like to accomplish this goal and are trying to make a difference in our community to carry on the legacy of those we have lost too early.”

The organization gifted Hononegah High Schools Band with a check for $5,000; with HCHS Band Director, Mr.  Kramper in attendance. Boys and Girls Golf was presented with another $5,000 to be split between the two groups in memory of Craig Weaver who was a golfer. 

Members of the Insko and Weaver family joined members of the Don’t Be Next Foundation on stage.

BOE President Dave Kurlinkis said, “Your actions are what make Hononegah work. Principal Dougherty added, “You put the community in Hononegah.”

Students Laura Mendez, Delaney Harris and Max Moroz have been nominated to state leadership positions on the “North Central District Executive Council. Students are chosen on criteria of citizenship and leadership; taking on a state leadership role. Work to be done includes service projects and help in planning regional events.  Mendez is the board Secretary; Harris is the Honor Chair and Moroz will serve as the Area four representatives in the NIC-10 district. Each student shared what they are most looking forward to gaining from this experience. More student council activities, being more involved with leadership opportunities and making more connections beyond HCHS were cited. 

Special recognition was given to staff- Mr. Lawver, Mrs. Chambers, Mrs. Bohn and Mrs. Christoff for their service and dedication in planning amazing and memorable events in the midst of the pandemic. 

“You are all amazing people,” Dougherty said. “We all remember the event, “On the Boardwalk” which was last year’s prom. Now we have the 2021 Homecoming events coming up. Class of 2022; welcome; students, this is about you and ways to stay connected.”

Dougherty thanked everyone who was behind these events and who are already planning new events for the future. 

Matt Simpson, Math Coordinator, was joined by Becky Reynolds and Maureen Schnaper. Together this team presented a new curriculum to be used in math class. A video screen appeared to outline the “Push for Perfection” program. The program is interactive and can be verbally explained via a video. It was said that teachers hope to see students get excited through this program, which includes three or four videos per unit. “Most certainly this has come at an ideal time this year; everybody has a device, “Dougherty said. 

Math instructors also explained a “Budget Challenge.” “Mortgages, credit cards, are things teachers said kids get really curious about. They get to be responsible with money and at 18 they are starting to get credit cards.”

The district has a balanced budget which can be found on the district website for the State Board of Education. 

Student Council Representative Madison Bunger gave a detailed report on actions being taken by the Council.  

“Our first service project will be Carpenters Place.  The Key Club has sponsored a “Suicide Awareness week.” They gave out pamphlets and yellow ribbons. Cards were sent for the two boys who were in a car accident. Shirts are being designed for a “Stand up to Cancer” event to be worn at the “Pink Out” game. 

A powder puff game and pep assembly will be held on Sept. 30 and is open to the community. On Saturday, Sept. 25 students will be painting windows in downtown Rockton. 

Bunger said, “Due to COVID this year’s parade on Friday, Oct. 1 will have no floats but banners are being carried. The parade starts at 4 p.m. 

The Homecoming court will be announced on both Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. New this year we are proposing a Prince and Princess be added to the court. They would be teacher elected and from the Special Education Department. 

The Homecoming dance is planned to be held in the parking lot under a large tent. A DJ, games and other fun options similar to last year’s prom will be added. The Administration is now allowing seniors to bring a guest to the dance. 

Concerns about fairness regarding the dress code being applied to girls at the school are being addressed. 

A trunk or treat is also being planned. 

Athletic Director Steve Cofoid acknowledged accomplishments of Boys swimming team in 2021. The team went to conference and their coach was named “Coach of the Year.”

Cofoid gave statistics on all sports teams who are having successful seasons. 

“Summer football camp had other schools in the conference; this was a different season scheduling events for lower levels,” Cofoid said. A club activities fair was held at the fieldhouse. Booths were set up. Robotics and technology for stage hands was part of this unique event. 

Associate Principal, Mrs. Eckmann spoke about students who attended summer school during the “Building level report. “Students learned both in person and remotely; 170 credit totals were earned; the enrichment program garnering 69 credits. One student participated in the Workplace experience and 10 students were able to graduate. Eckman compared credit numbers from 2011 to now. 

“We have 1,900 students; we have not had 500 students in each class, the first year since 2012. We have 74 new students; 21 from the freshman class. 

“We are glad to have everybody back in person; let’s keep it that way,” Dougherty said. 

Dr. Asbury and Superintendent Mike Dugan spoke of using digital means to secure CPI training through the Rockton Fire Department. 

Dugan brought up the need for help in identifying what should be in the next strategic plan. “Back to school night was done virtually. This was the perfect way for teachers to meet students’ parents face to face.

“Shield Illinois is the governor’s mandate. We are a little ahead of everyone else.”

Board member, Bob Geddies gave an update on the idea to create a statue of Hononegah. “I met with members of Rockton Township Historical Society and Rockton remembers, about a statue we are proposed to commission and to erect,” Geddies said. “We discussed locations, funding opportunities, and the process of finding an artist to design the statue.”

“The community is behind this. We have had great feedback from the community including the family of Hononegah and the Pottawatomie tribe.” Details will be discussed at the October BOE meeting. 

The board approved a specific list of items needed to operate. 

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