Around the Southland: Park Forest students rally for positivity

More than 70 students from Southland College Prep Charter High School in Richton Park were invited to the University of Illinois Salute to Academic Achievement last week at the UIC Dorin Forum in Chicago.

More than 70 Southland College Prep Charter High School seniors were invited last week to Salute to Academic Achievement, an annual University of Illinois event which recognizes high-achieving African American, Latino and Native American high school students, and those from underrepresented Illinois counties.

It was the 40th year of the University of Illinois Salute to Academic Achievement. About 800 people attended the event, including over 400 students, as well as their family members, high school counselors and university leaders.


Colleges across the University of Illinois system were in attendance to promote their programs to the prospective students.

The group of 72 eligible students from Southland College Prep in Richton Park comprised more than half the school’s senior class, according to Robert Lane, Southland’s director of college admissions.


“We were, by far, the strongest representative school in the state in attendance,” Lane said.

Every student received a certificate of achievement from the state, application fee waivers to all three University of Illinois campuses and an opportunity to meet college representatives.

Students from Southland College Prep Charter High School in Richton Park attend a college fair last week during the University of Illinois Salute to Academic Achievement at the UIC Dorin Forum.

The Jesse White Tumblers visited Illinois School in Park Forest last week for an all-school rally to promote the school’s positive behavior program.

The rally with the Jesse White Tumblers displaying their acrobatic ability was the kickoff of a year of events celebrating the Illinois Wolves PACK principles of pride, acting responsibly, character and kindness, according to principal Shernita Mays.

The school, which has students from kindergarten through eighth grade, rewards students throughout the year for demonstrating positive behavior. Students can earn “wolf bucks” to shop at the school store and also can earn rewards for schoolwide and personal success.

Trenton Jordan, an eighth grader at Illinois School, is a member of the Jesse White Tumblers and had a chance to show off his skills to his classmates. Mays hopes that the demonstration will be an inspiration for students to understand that with hard work and discipline, they can achieve their goals.

“The Jesse White Tumblers promote school and excellence. You have to have good grades to be a part of their program,” Mays said. “It takes discipline, self control and being a part of a team.”

The School District 230 Educational Support Professionals’ Association is seeing sock donations as part of its annual Socktober Sock Drive. Last year, the association helped make winter a bit warmer across the south suburbs for those in need thanks to the combined efforts of students and staff at Sandburg, Stagg and Andrew High Schools with a grand total of 8,652 pairs of socks donated in the month of October.


Socks are among the most requested, but least donated items at homeless shelters, District 230′s support staff is organizing Socktober at each high school with the goal of bringing some comfort to those in need by simply providing a clean pair of socks.

New socks of all colors, varieties and sizes are requested and can be dropped off through the end of the month at the main office of Sandburg in Orland Park, Stagg in Palos Hills or Andrew in Tinley Park, or at the District Administration Center in Orland Park.

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The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge is hosting a recruitment fair for prospective law enforcement and corrections officers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 11 at the main campus of Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet.

Municipal, county, state, federal and college law enforcement and criminal justice agencies will be available to speak to those interested in a career in law enforcement. The recruitment fair is free and open to everyone.

The Oct. 11 recruitment fair is geared toward anyone who is interested in becoming a law enforcement, corrections, emergency telecommunications, parole or probation officer.

The Oak Lawn Public Library’s Local History department celebrates Halloween season with two graveyard-themed programs, including a lantern-lit cemetery tour.


A Death Cafe program is an open forum led by Michael Kozlowski and Shelley Murray, of Chapel Hill Gardens South Funeral Home and Cemetery in Oak Lawn, on the mysteries of death and burial. Geared toward adults, no registration is required for the program from 2 to 3 p.m. Oct. 13.

A cemetery tour designed for attendees of all ages involves a serene lantern-lit stroll through the property at Chapel Hill Gardens South. Attendance is free with advance registration at, and individual faux candles will be provided to light your path and set the spooky mood. The tour will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and will be full of captivating trivia and graves of interesting people native to Chicago.

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