Thursday, May 12, 2016

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

On Sunday, we will graduate the 55th graduating class at Mundelein High School.  This class has many wonderful accolades, many of which were honored last Tuesday night at the Senior Honors Ceremony.  As the Class of 2016 leaves MHS, the staff wishes them the best in their futures!

Mustang News Feedback Survey
I hope you enjoyed reading my weekly blog about the happenings of MHS.  As I was preparing for graduation this week, I reviewed many blogs from the year and was transported back to many happy memories!  Please consider completing this short survey about the blog for future improvements. The link will take you to a Google survey. 


Files on student H: Drives
Every summer we clear every student’s files that reside on their H: drives.  Please remind your students that if they wish to keep any of these files, they need to copy them to their own personal flash drives before their last day of school.

Files on student Google Accounts
Google accounts for those students returning in the fall will NOT be deleted or deactivated. Students will keep their Google accounts (and Chromebooks) including all files & email contained in their Google accounts, until they graduate.

Graduating students and students leaving the district will have their network and Google accounts deactivated on August 1. Those students wishing to take their Google files with them should follow the directions specified on our website:

Seniors Chromebooks
Seniors may purchase their chromebooks for $50 in the bookstore.  Chromebooks either have to be returned (with charger) or purchased before seniors can pick up cap and gowns.


MHS junior selected for Future Leaders of Chicago program
 Mundelein High School junior, Alicia Ramirez, is one of 30 students in the Chicago area to be
selected to attend the University of Chicago’s Future Leaders of Chicago [floChicago] week-long immersion program.  The residential program invites students to study complex social issues like crime and violence, public health, education and race relations through meetings, seminars and field trips involving prominent businesses, non-profits and educational leaders.
“I applied to the program as a way to develop my leadership skills and to learn more about career options,” Ramirez explained.

The program will continue to offer monthly meetings and retreats throughout the year.
Ramirez is in the AVID [Advancement Via Individual Determination] program at MHS. AVID is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. Established more than 35 years ago with one teacher in one classroom, AVID today impacts more than 1.2 million students in 44 states and 16 other countries/territories.

Daily Herald Academic Team
Nicholas Duncan
Two Mundelein High School seniors have been named Honorable Mentions to the 2015-2016 Lake County Daily Herald Academic Team. The Academic Team recognizes graduating high school seniors who have exemplary academic records, ambitious goals for themselves and who have been outstanding citizens of their high schools. Representing Mundelein High School on the team are Nicholas Duncan and Kevin Fung.

The students were nominated by their high schools and an independent panel of judges reviewed the applications for the Academic Team throughout the Daily Herald readership area. All winners will be honored in a special Academic Team edition of the Daily Herald’s Neighbor section Thursday, May 19.
Kevin Fung

“Thank you for participating in the Daily Herald Academic Team and congratulations on your success in high school,” said Renee Trappe, Daily Herald assistant managing editor/local news. “We expect great things from you!”

The STAND UP coalition would like to congratulate our graduating seniors; Nick Bolles, Jamonte Thomas, Libby Chuma and James Syme!  With their help, STAND UP worked closely with Mayor Lentz’s office, the Mundelein Police Department and local elementary and middle schools to share the important message about being drug and alcohol free.  Your time and effort is appreciated and we wish you the best of luck after graduation!  For more information about joining STAND UP, please Mr. Thatcher in the Dean’s office.”

From rigth to left: Ofc. Wirth, Mayor Lentz, Nick Bolles, Jamonte Thomas, Libby Chuma, James Syme, Mr. Thatcher, Ms. Radoy


Mundelein High School graduation May 15 at Sears Centre Arena
Mundelein High School’s Class of 2016 will graduate Sunday, May 15, in a 3 p.m. ceremony at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. This is the third year that District 120 has been using this venue for its Commencement Ceremony. Approximately 450 students are slated to graduate.

District 120 Superintendent Kevin Myers will serve as master of ceremonies for the event. Featured speakers will include MHS Principal Anthony Kroll, Class Valedictorian Kevin Fung and Salutatorian Jeremiah Lam. School-wide President Kylie Hecht will offer a welcome to the audience and Senior Class President Jaryd Pacis will direct the moving of the tassels at the close of the ceremony. All members of the District 120 Board of Education, along with Myers, will present the diplomas to the graduates.

A processional, recessional and instrumental selection will be provided by the MHS Combined Honors Band; the Master Singers and 2016 Choir Graduates will sing the National Anthem and offer a vocal selection as well.

“I am proud of each of the 2016 graduates,” Kroll said. “I celebrate with them as they prepare to leave high school and move on to the next phase of their lives. I truly hope that they carry their convictions with them as they go out into the world to ‘make their mark’,” he concluded.

2015-2016 Yearbook
The deadline to pre-order a 2015-2016 yearbook has been extended until the last day of school, which is Wednesday, May 18.  Parents and students asked for an extension since yearbook and prom sales overlapped this year.  While yearbooks can no longer be purchased online, they can still be purchased through the school bookstore for $50.

Let’s Go to College
National Louis University, University Center, and other nonprofit organizations (Mano a Mano, States Attorney’s office, and CLC) are hosting an Educational Resource Event on May 21 from 9am-12:15pm, at the University Center of Lake County, 1200 University Center Dr., Grayslake, IL. This will be a Spanish speaking only event.


Boys' Gymnastics going to State!
The MHS Boys' Gymnastics team got a season high score of 147.9 at the sectional meet on Thursday, May 5.  This score was good enough to qualify them to the state team championships at Hinsdale Central High School on Friday, May 13.  The boys' team is currently ranked as the #7 team in the state.  This will be the 20th time in team history that the boys' team has qualified for the state championships. The team competition will begin at 5:30pm on Friday.

Kvien signs with Elmhurst College

Donnie Kvien has signed a letter of intent to play soccer at Elmhurst College next year. The future business major plans to coach and run soccer camps after his college career. He is looking forward to experiencing the college atmosphere.

Photos from the Week:

On their final win, the girls JV lacrosse team celebrates on the day before their last game on Monday, May 9. The team had a 5-5 season, and worked very hard. Anushka Desai '19 said, "I'm very proud of how hard we hustled this season." Photo by Claire Kim

For her excellence, Darin Chaichitatorn '16 receives an award from the Senior Honors Ceremony on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Alana Dickens, a senior who attended said, "It was fun to see how smart the senior classmates are and to see how much we have accomplished." Photo by Courtney Wuss

Antoine Hicks '16 and Justin Neukam '16 attend the varsity Girls Soccer game against Zion at home. Hicks and Neukam had just finished track practice and stood on the sidelines cheering on the girls soccer team. "The boy Track team wanted to support as many other athletic teams as possible" said Hicks. Photo by Jenny Rojo

Heading out to their last MHS dance, Clark Dumblauskas '16 and Hernan Hidrogo '16 pose for a picture at Independence Grove Many groups of students chose the scenic park as a backdrop for their photos. "Prom was a great time," said Dumblauskas. "It was a fun way to finish out my senior year." Photo by Jennimai Nguyen

At the end of the school day, the Varsity and JV Volleyball team gets ready for the game against Stevenson in the main gym. "It's going to be rough" varsity player, Nickolai Kalinoski 16' said. Photo by Michael Bui
Faculty and Administration enjoy a dinner together before the Senior Honors Celebration.

Boys Volleyball honor teachers before their game Wednesday.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5, 2016 Mustang News


MHS seniors may buy their Chromebook for (new price) $50!  Pay at the bookstore!


MHS students recognized at Technology Campus
Ten Mundelein High School students were recently recognized for achievement at the Senior Awards Night Ceremony at the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus. Several students were recognized more than once.

Earning the honor of Tech Campus Program Student of the Year were Hunter Ashton, Brandon Brown, Janet Perez and Jonathan Santiago. Named to the National Technical Honors Society were Hunter Ashton, Mercedalia Guzman, Michelle Jimenez, Jonathan Santiago, Melissa Tazioli and Mikela Villanueva. Melissa Tazioli was also named Preferred Graduate.

Also recognized for their performances in state competition were Brittany Diaz who placed fifth in the Emergency Medical Technician category and Madison Janis who took second place in Esthetics.

5 MHS choir & theatre students continue to study/perform after graduation
Five Mundelein High School choir and theatre students will continue their studies at the college level as they leave their high school years behind.

Oscar Delgado will begin his studies at the College of Lake County with an intended major in music education. He hopes to be a secondary school choral director after college. During high school, Delgado was active in theatre, concert choir and show choir. He hopes to redefine his skills as a musician and gain leadership experience.

Alexa Hannon will attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston where she will major in music production and engineering. Her career goal is to work as a sound engineer. Her high school activities include concert choir, show choir combo band and tech theatre. She’s looking forward to working with other musicians in a job that she has been interested in for years.

Gina Otrembiak will major in musical theatre at Columbia College in Chicago. She hopes to enjoy a career as a professional working actress. Her high school experience includes show choir, concert choir and theatre. She is planning on having challenging experiences in college and further developing her abilities.

Angela Peterson will attend Oklahoma City University where she earned a scholarship. She will major in vocal performance and hopes to perform and share the connection of music worldwide. At MHS she was active in choir and theatre. She also is a cantor at her church, takes vocal lessons and sings in music competitions. She is looking forward to next year to collaborate with new peers, teachers and mentors.

Kaila Saunders will study next year at Brigham Young University. She will major in music education and hopes to become a high school music teacher. She has been active in theatre, concert choir, show choir and her church choir. She hopes to continue on with music during and after college active in a career that will allow her to have an influence on many different people.

Instrumental musicians earn scholarships for college-level study
Four Mundelein High School instrumental music students will continue their music studies at the college and university level and all have earned scholarships to do so.

Henry Carpender will attend the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York where he will study classical and jazz trombone performance. He is hoping to eventually have a career that allows him to be creative and to make great music. In addition to his music interests Carpender was also involved at MHS in theatre and the GSA organization. He is looking forward to “being on the bottom of the totem pole and having the most to learn.”

Phineas Gleber will study at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His intended major is jazz studies and his goal is to have a steady career of playing drums, “whether I am performing, teaching or both.” During high school he has been involved in band all four of his years and he participated in every type of ensemble that the school offers. He is looking forward to being able to make music every day without any distractions.

Kaitlin Lambert will be studying next year at the well-renowned Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio where she earned a Conservatory Dean’s Scholarship. She will major in trombone performance and hopes to have a career that involves performing, traveling and teaching the trombone. During her MHS years Lambert participated in the Merit School of Music’s Conservatory Program, Midwest Young Artists Jazz program and the CYSO’s Chamber music program. This is in addition to her school band commitments. She is most looking forward to the opportunity to “become better at my craft and work with other musicians. Every day I am amazed that I get to go to college to study what I love and not many people can say that.”

Gabe Martinez will attend Elmhurst College where he will major in music education. He plans to become a band director at the high school level. While in high school at MHS Martinez participated in pep band, marching band, NO!SE, pit orchestra and jazz band. Regarding his college career, Martinez said that he is “looking forward to pursuing something that I adore and enjoy doing, and sharing that with other people.”

Student journalists earn near-perfect score in competition 
Mundelein High School’s student newspaper staff has earned a First Place with Special Merit Award in the 2015-2016 Most Outstanding High School Newspapers in the Senior High Schools Enrollment 1701-2500 category. The competition is conducted by the American Scholastic Press Association.The MHS publication, The Mustang, earned a total of 950 of a possible 1000 points from the judges of the competition.

“First place with special Merit was given to a publication that scored more than 950 points AND, in the opinion of the reviewer, was an outstanding overall example of a scholastic publication in format, content and presentation,” said Michelle Didzbalis, student newspaper advisor.
The student editors for The Mustang include:  Delaney Appelhans, Adriana Feijoo, Melissa Burgett, Stefani Zeiger, Michael del Rosario, Trevor Fox, Alexander Loding, Ashley Wolfe, Katelyn Siltman and Natale Fiocchi.

“Congratulations to the entire staff of The Mustang for this great award,” said MHS Principal Anthony Kroll. “We are proud of the work you do and appreciate the way you keep the students and staff of MHS informed through your print and online publication. Great work!”

MHS students place first, third in video competition
Mundelein High School senior Chris West took a first place award for his commercial “Chip Combat,” in the Midwest Media Educators Association [MMEA] festival in Naperville . More than 45 schools from Chicago, Indiana and Wisconsin submitted 600 entries that were critiqued by professionals in the industry.

“Chris has an amazing eye for video and sense of timing and pacing when editing,” said Kent Meister, MHS television production instructor. “While I would love to take some of the credit, I can’t. Chris is a hard worker and is always experimenting in ways that push his videos to the next level,” he explained.

West plans to attend Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids, MI next year.
In addition, Douglas Alberts took third place for an animation he created while Trevor Fox also earned a third place award for a public service announcement.

MMEA is an organization dedicated to providing a media educators across the Midwest the opportunity to share curriculum and resources necessary for creating a unique experience for students in high school media programs. One of the largest events held every year is the Video Festival, where students from across the area submit their work to be judged by industry professionals. In addition to the Video Festival, MMEA holds multiple day-long institutes for teachers of media.

Two MHS journalists to take part in top-rated summer journalism events
Two members of the award-winning Mundelein High School student newspaper staff will attend three highly recognized summer journalism programs.

Junior Michael del Rosario, an editor for The Mustang, will take part in the Summer Journalism Institute at Emerson College in Boston and he is also one of 42 students nationwide selected to be part of the JCamp to be held at George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs in Washington, DC., sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association [AAJA]. Sophomore reporter Sophia Fiore was accepted into the journalism and media conference at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

“Both Michael and Sophie are self-driven individuals,” said Michelle Didzbalis, The Mustang faculty advisor. “They constantly push themselves to grow as journalists by setting new and varied challenges with each assignment they take on.”

The Summer Journalism Institute at Emerson offers rising sophomores, juniors and seniors an opportunity to explore journalistic techniques and approaches to produce journalism in a variety of digital formats. Applicants selected for this three-week intensive program channel their interests in news, storytelling and communicating. The AAJA JCamp at George Washington University is a six-day intensive journalism training for high school students. Students learn from professional journalists and get hands-on training in writing, photography, television broadcasting, online media, and reporting. Sessions and workshops are led by experienced journalists from top media companies.
The Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University welcomes high school student leaders each summer from all over the country as National Youth Correspondents. National Youth Correspondents join the Mason community which includes students and faculty from all over the world. Mason attracts proven and innovative leaders in communications, media research, new media and electronic journalism.

“Michael has been instrumental in enhancing our online presence and the visual design of our print edition,” Didzbalis explained. “Sophie will pursue more than the required number of articles just because she likes to write and report. I’m excited to see what they learn this summer to bring back to the staff in the fall,” she concluded.

MHS Education Foundation awards grants for educational projects
The Mundelein High School Education Foundation [MHSEF] presented grants to several members of the MHS staff to enhance student learning and performance. They were presented by MHSEF member, Denise Stelzer, at the high school May 5.

A $500 grant went to English Instructors Ryan Buck and Mike Dayton for a project called Book Love and Building Student Stamina and Interest in Reading. The grant will allow them to buy timely, relevant, high interest Young Adult Literature that will meet the diverse needs of the student population. “What we propose we do with the money is to purchase high interest books that captivate students and engage them in reading,” Dayton explained. “Once students are hooked on reading, our job is to continue introducing them to higher level books that appeal to them as young people,” Buck said.

A grant for $200 was awarded to Literacy Center staff member Hope Babowice for a Peer Advisory Council Research Project at the Harold Washington Library. The grant will support a field trip with the Peer Advisory Council, a group with 10 student members, to visit the flagship Harold Washington Library in Chicago. “The group will then provide input to the Media Center/Literacy Center regarding student needs,” Babowice said.  One of their objectives is to acquire exemplars of essays from English Department faculty to make available for reference; another is to include board games in the Literacy Center for student use.

A $500 grant was presented to Special Education Instructors Leah Kaplan and Georgi Mendez to further develop Academic Literacy in Special Education. Academic Literacy is an instructional special education class for students who struggle in reading and writing. “We use specific intervention strategies along with common core aligned curriculum to provide support for the specific literacy needs of students,” Kaplan explained. The grant will provide $250 for a classroom library, $50 for a library field trip, and $200 for resources from Barnes & Noble.

World Languages Instructors Brian Packowitz and Blair Winter were provided with a $500 grant to develop a Spanish Language Independent Reading Library. With an additional level of Spanish for Heritage Learners the team needs an expanded library. “These books will all be in Spanish and will consist of a mix of high-interest teen books and more classical Latin American literature to help expand our current library,” Packowitz said.

The MHSEF provides grants for teachers each year and also a number of scholarships for graduating seniors. The Foundation supports teaching and learning at Mundelein High School throughout the school year. For more information, or to donate toward these grants, visit their page on the District website at

Two MHS actresses earn scholarships to study acting at prestigious schools
Now that the Mundelein High School Theatre Department musical, Thoroughly Modern Mille, has closed, two of the leads from the show are focused on their scholarship opportunities to study acting at top-notch drama schools.

Josie David, who played the starring role of Millie, has earned a Regent’s full tuition scholarship and another Fine Arts Scholarship to attend the Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University. Active during high school in theatre, show choir and National Honor Society, David looks forward to a career in musical theatre.“I would like to be an ensemble member of some sort of theatre in Chicago or in a touring company of a musical,” she said. She is most looking forward to studying what she loves and expanding on her training.

Patricia Roques played the role of Mrs. Meers in the MHS musical and has received a scholarship from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, where she will major in acting. Roques hopes to have a successful acting career and along the way she plans on finding opportunities to use her talents to give back to her community. During her MHS years Roques was involved in jazz and concert bands, concert choir, show choir, show choir combo band and percussion ensemble.She is looking forward to “moving to a strange, new city – New York. It is a melting pot of cultures and ideas and I look forward to becoming a part of it.”


Registration now open for June 5 Mustang Triathlon
Mundelein High School’s Triathlon Club will hold a fundraiser Sunday, June 5, beginning at 7 a.m. on the MHS track. Called the Mustang Triathlon, the event will cost $10 for MHS students and staff and $15 for the general public. Payments/Registration may be made by clicking  RevTrak . Participants may choose among three different levels of triathlon: Race C will involve a 100-yard swim, a five-mile bike ride and a one mile run; Race B is a 250-yard swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a two-mile run; Race A is the “Sprint Tri” which includes a 500-yard swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a three mile run. Participants will start in waves. Race A will swim first, followed by Race B and then Race C.

A relay is new this year. Athletes may work with two friends and split the three legs among them.
Those who register by May 20 will receive an event t-shirt; registration may also be made beginning at 6:30 a.m. on June 5 but will not include the shirt. For additional information, contact Nancy Toland, club advisor, at

Orchesis Show Honoring Baker Family
The last Orchesis Dance show is dedicated to the Baker Family.  The Orchesis Kids Clinic will be held on Saturday, May 7th from 1-2:30.  ALL kids ages 3-8th Grade are invited to attend the clinic and then participate in the show held Monday, May 9th.  Avery Baker will be dancing with us and we hope that your kids can join us as well!  Pre-school - 8th grade will work on dance technique and learn a dance to perform in the Monday night show. Cost of the clinic is $15 and includes a Tshirt. Admission to the show is $4 adults, $3 seniors and students.


Nakita Hristev has signed a letter of intent to play water polo at McKendree University in Lebanon, IL, near St. Louis. Nakita played both water polo and football during his MHS career.
He plans to major in International Relations and would like to follow a career in the foreign service. He is looking forward to meeting new people and starting a new program.

Amanda Diaz has signed a letter of intent to play softball at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. During her MHS career, in addition to softball, Amanda has been active in cheerleading, student leadership, link crew, national honor society and student athlete leadership training [SALT].
Amanda is considering education or psychology as her major. She’s looking forward to meeting new people and playing softball at the collegiate level.

Staff Appreciation from Boys Volleyball
Please join the Boys Volleyball team on Wednesday, May 11 for their special Staff Appreciation Night. Each player will present a certificate to a staff member that has made a difference in their year at MHS.  This presentation will begin at around 5:45 PM.

Photos from the Week:

Dr. Kroll plays Mama in musical.  Other guest Mama's were Mrs. Theo, Coach Calhoun, and Dr. Myers

Cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie

The girls softball team plays against Warren on May 3, 2016. Pitcher Bre Adams 19' throws a pitch to strike out the hitter. Photo by Maria Hidrogo

In the afternoon of May 4, Kate Hay '19, Hailey Prefontaine '17, Vanessa Marin '17, and Vivian Venegas ‘18 work on the posters for senior night, Thursday May 6. They finished up the first of the two posters before the seniors got to the pasta party. "We all got here early so we could make the posters for both Jenny's on Senior Night.” Photo by Morgan Albertsen

Practicing his volleys, Justin So '19 smiles during his after school tennis practice on Wednesday May 4. The boys tennis team has experienced some setbacks due to the condition of the courts here at MHS. So said, "Even though the courts aren't in the best condition, the fun I have with my teammates makes practice a lot better." Photo by Rosie Gomez 

Red Rage leader, Charlie Volpe '16 poses with Maverick the Mustang for the ABC Countdown on Red Rage Day. Charlie said "It’s always fun to show off your school spirit." Photo by Zach Levy

The girls JV lacrosse team shows their support for the recent Antigo High School shooting, by wearing maroon and white on May 4. The girls contributed to the "#AntigoStrong" tag on twitter, and by signing the school's shirt. Hailey Fay '18, said, "Showing support for Antigo was so important for me because my family attends there and it's good to spread awareness about stuff... we need to find a way to stop stuff like this from happening." Photo by Claire Kim

Staff Spot Light

Michelle Didzbalis - Engish/Yearbook/Newspaper Teacher

What are your hobbies/interests? –  Sailing, traveling, reading, writing
Life before MHS - I did one internship with ABC 7's Investigative Team and one internship with The Chicago Reporter; subbed and was an AVID tutor at D300

Insider tip for parents –  Talk with students about current events

Best part of working at MHS? – The staff at MHS is energetic and creative!

You many not know…I have a twin brother who specialized in math and economics while I went the English route.

What college/university did you attend? Northwestern University (journalism) & Roosevelt University (Secondary English Edu)

How long have you worked at MHS? –  This is my sixth year.

Who or what inspires you? – My mom taught for 35+ years, so I seek her out for advice and ideas

What is your favorite part of your job? -  Helping students take an idea and carry it through into a published piece of work

Good book recommendation? – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet