At the upcoming Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 bilingual graduation, students will celebrate their English proficiency – in their own words.


For the past decade the district has used the ceremony to mark student transition from English-as-a-Second-Language and bilingual education programs to mainstream classes.


And, like other graduations, the ceremony had guest speakers.


This year’s graduation, however, will feature eighth-grade students from those programs delivering their own speeches, said Mariela Delgado, a bilingual/ESL instructional specialist.


“It’s an inspirational thing if kids speak to kids,” she said. “They’re writing their own speeches, which is neat.”


The speakers will give 5-minute speeches, in English, based on one of several quotes.


The quotes they based their talks on include the Danish proverb, “He who would leap high enough must take a long run.”


Another quote, one of several they could choose from, is from Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.”


The ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 23, at Holmes Middle School in Wheeling.


According to the state-mandated bilingual census, more than 40 languages are spoke in the district. District 21 also has the state’s seventh-largest number of students for whom English is not their first language, with more than 2,800 of a nearly 7,200-member enrollment claiming a different first language.


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Playing the part: Some Northwest Suburban High School District 214 students recently got a little more than your average trip to Boston. Sure, they took the typical city bus tour – but they also got a chance to step into the roles of lobbyists, congressmen and journalists. They were a part of some 1,300 high school students from across the nation who attended the Harvard Model Congress.


While in Boston, the group got a real feel for government and a chance to take part in a mock campaign and debate topics like flag burning and global warming. Among the things some say they learned during their model congress role play: They “never want to be journalists.” Hmmm.


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Lucky number: Never say the Rolling Meadows High School yearbook isn’t golden. The yearbook, sponsored by Bill Leece, captured the state’s top award – the Golden Eagle – for the 23rd time. To give that a little perspective, the school has published a grand total of only 28 yearbooks over the years. The award was part of the student journalism conference sponsored by the Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association, held at the College of DuPage on April 28. Just in case the Golden Eagle wasn’t enough, the yearbook staff also picked up blue ribbon awards for writing, layout, design, structure, theme, cover, coverage and photography. And as long as we’re at it: the Pacer, Rolling Meadows High School’s student newspaper, was also awarded the Golden Eagle. This is the third consecutive year the newspaper, sponsored by journalism teacher Heather Sherwin, has captured the Golden Eagle. Several Rolling Meadows students also earned individual awards for their work on the paper. Looks like some students, at least, do want to be journalists.


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Debate hawk: Congratulations to the Maine South High School constitution team for its high finish in the recent “We the People…The Citizen and the Constitution” national competition in Washington, D.C.


The team, led by Maine South government teacher and Elk Grove Village Trustee Pat Feichter, is a perennial state and national champion in such competitions.


The Maine South team posted one of the highest score for a non- finalist vying with 49 other high schools for honors. The school is also the only one from Illinois to score highly in the contest.


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School notes: Central School in Des Plaines recently honored at its annual “Peace Assembly” senior volunteer Robert Ridell and first-grade student Danielle Rubey as people with courage. Ridell is a World War II veteran who recovered from a heart attack, while Rubey is now battling leukemia. … Elk Grove High School recently celebrated the professional lives of 12 retiring staff members, representing 263 years of service. … Congratulations to Algonquin Middle School in Des Plaines. For a second consecutive year its students won an award in the Kid Witness News program sponsored by Panasonic Corp. The winning team includes students Kathy Rogoz, Justyna Roszkowska, Wojtek Rogoz, Carl Azab, Mariusz Michalik. They will receive the honor May 23 in New Jersey, for their 10-minute documentary titled, “The American Dream,” which features interviews with recent immigrants.


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