By Marianne Mueller

Hononegah High School Science teacher Maggie Moore was given special recognition at the August Board of Education meeting for her many accomplishments and for making a difference for her students.

Hononegah Community High School’s Board of Education recognized students and a well-respected teacher for outstanding accomplishments on Aug. 17 at HCHS’s Library.

HCHS Principal Chad Dougherty recognized students who are the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Qualifiers.

“Last fall, they along with their junior classmates and students from 21,000 high schools across the nation, took the 2021 Preliminary SAT (PSAT) which is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test otherwise known as the PSAT/NMSQ,” Dougherty said.

He added, “Of the more than 1.3 million students who took the exam, these high-achieving Hononegah students were among the 50,000 highest-scoring participants who will be recognized as either Semifinalist or Commended Students in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Semifinalists will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,500 Merit Scholarship Awards to be offered in 2023.
“Regardless of the designation they receive, these young men and women are among only a handful of students to earn this honor in the entire Rockford region.

“These hardworking students set themselves apart from their peers and deserve special recognition tonight.”

Abigail Barnhardt, Dain Hamilton,Austin Kirwin, Jason McAllister, Autumn Mohring, Micah Samual and Wolfgang Vergara each have earned this honor and were presented with a special certificate from BOE President Dave Kurlinkus.

Mrs. Maggie Moore is no stranger to HCHS as she has taught at the high school for the past 25 years, starting in 2007.

Moore was chosen as the recipient of staff recognition in August.

Dougherty said, “Most notably Mrs. Moore was recognized with a “Those Who Excel” Excellence Award. This award is given to empower leaders and teachers who believe in equal opportunity for student success and solving problems beyond learning.

Moore is a science teacher who teaches biology along with other skills and memorization. She also was a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year in 2019.

Most recently Moore presented at a National Science Teaching Association 2022 National Conference in Chicago.

“I spoke on “Building Yourself as a Teacher, Leader and Change Agent,” Moore said.

“I had the opportunity to politicians about teacher shortages, and I was able to bring a larger perspective.”

Moore took part in looking into using an authentic model of using a ‘teacher voice.’ Classroom changes since COVID were also addressed.

Moore also serves as one of the leaders in HCHS’s GAIA. She reported, “Over the summer we became an “Arbor Day Service School.”

At the conclusion of Moore’s comments, BOE member Eric Flohr told her, “I am proud of you. Twenty-five years as a teacher is a great accomplishment.”

BOE President said to Moore, “You are one of the top giants to stand on the shoulders of.”

“Maintaining high academic standards is a priority,” Moore concluded. Kurlinkus gave Moore a Certificate in recognition as loud applause filled the room.

At the August Board of Education meeting Student Council Representative Riley Dick covered actions being taken or that have currently been handled by the council.

“We are outlining and finalizing a budget for this year. We are reformatting the Council By-Law Clauses. Delany Porter has been appointed as a NCD Webmaster. “ He reported that the council held their summer meeting on Aug. 15.

The marching band completed their summer marching band camp the week before the BOE meeting.

Homecoming events and activities will include: window painting on Sept. 17, a Lip- sync battle on Sept. 19, a talent show on the 20th, Powderpuff games, a pep rally and a bonfire, which  are set for Sept. 22. A bonfire  is  to be held in conjunction with the Rockton Fire Department. HCHS is celebrating 100 years and Homecoming events will be a reflection of those years.

The parade will roll down Rockton’s Main Street on Friday evening, Sept. 23 followed by the Homecoming football game. The final event of that week is the Homecoming dance on Saturday evening, Sept. 24. As a nice bonus, plans are to have food trucks during the Powderpuff games.

 Alumni may enter Friday nights game at no charge and an Alumni tent will be found in the end zone. Tickets are available on Hononegah High School’s website for the H.O.P.E Foundation Feast on the Field Tailgate party.

Adding to Homecoming spirit, the council is creating a T-shirt concept for Spirit week. The shirt hopes to feature upcoming school events such as tour dates on the back of the shirt and “Metallica” style lettering on the front with the name “Hononegah” prominently displayed.

Principal Dougherty hit on the highlights of the First Day first day of School on Aug. 17. Students were greeted in the Performing Arts Center where messages of how to preserver and how to challenge yourself came to light. Students had a chance to test their lockers which is one way that stress on the first day can be eliminated. “It was important for people to be able to move around the building.

Students were able to meet with SOAR mentors; 56 students have mentors from the Freshmen mentor program,” Dougherty said. Dougherty credited Assistant Principal Kathy Eckmann for assuring that all of the students had schedules prior to school starting.

A new teacher workshop happened from Aug. 10-12. “We had a lot of young and exceptional teachers in the mix,” Dougherty said.
School Board member Bob Geddeis credited David Berg, Director of Buildings and Grounds for his great work on the grounds and for being a champion for the school.

The Athletic Directors report reflected that there are 502 students who are in a fall sport, which is an increase over last year. It was stated that 80 students have tried out for volleyball this year.

Asbury said that the school hosted restorative practices training on Aug. 8 and 9. The school hosted Fierce Conversations Training on Aug. 1 and 2. New Teacher orientation training was held on Aug. 8-10 with 15 new teachers and the 2022-23 substitute present.

Asbury also spoke about coordinating teacher institute day on Aug. 16. Evaluwise training was given for administration and teachers.

Superintendent Mike Dugan  expressed gratitude to Beloit Memorial High School for allowing the tennis team to use their courts while the new ones were completed.

“Plenty of the community used the courts last weekend,” Dugan said. “Our coach said that these are better than college courts that he has been on.”

Kurlinkus said, “If you haven’t seen the tennis courts, go see the tennis courts.”

New trophy cases have been installed thanks to Mr. Tom Polaski and Mr. Marty Kiser.

Katie Littlefield who has served as the BOE Secretary announced that she is resigning from her position on the board, citing the reason that she and her family are moving out of the district.  Littlefield said, “It has been a joy working on the board. “

President Kurlinkus thanked Littlefield for her service and said that she will be greatly missed. Other board members echoed the same sentiments. Applications are being accepted for a volunteer to fill this position.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Sept. 7 by 3:30 p.m.  Interviews will be conducted by the BOE on Sept. 15. This position will be held from the moment a new board member is accepted until the term expires in  2025.

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