Employees throughout D158 are recognized for their excellence at recognition banquet

By Gabby Terez

It was Thursday afternoon at Jameson’s Restaurant. The atmosphere in the restaurant’s Drendel Ballroom was bright, as employees of Huntley 158 were having a good time, catching up with each other’s lives in the banquet room and taking pictures with a setup backdrop towards the entrance of the ballroom. 

On March 12., the Huntley 158 Education Foundation held its annual Employee Recognition Banquet from 4:30 to 8 p.m. in celebration of the district employees who were chosen as nominees for awards such as Educator of the Year and Employee of the Year.

The foundation is a non-profit organization led by a volunteer board of directors. It also consists of board and foundation committees formed by staff, parents, and other members of the community.

The foundation’s mission, which was stated in the pamphlet given out at the event, is “helping our students become the leaders of tomorrow.”

They also seek good learning resources for schools and encourage academic success for all students. They often advance student education and learning by awarding teacher grants and student scholarships.

The nominees were first revealed in a video from the foundation. The video, which was taken on January 28th, showed the nominees being honored by the education foundation’s surprise squad.

The employees presented as the nominees were: Lisa Pontious and Kim Friendreis from Mackeben Elementary, Brandi Wargo and Kathy Purdom from Conley Elementary, Lacey Vitale and Peggy Berquist from Heineman Middle School, Carlie Hall and Cathi Mikutis from the Early Childhood Center, Melissa Juergenzen and Rosa Solis from Chesak Elementary, Catherine Vandy and Cindy Botterman from Martin Elementary, Suzanne Starnes and Lynda Byrne from Marlowe Middle School, Dee DuBrock from District Office, Cara Contreras and Mike McGee from Leggee Elementary, and Steve Styers and Deb Gustafson from Huntley High School.

After this, the Educator of the Year Award was presented. The award went to Suzanne Starnes, who teaches 7th Grade Language Arts at Marlowe.

Grants to the 3 of the schools in the district were also awarded at the ceremony. Marlowe Middle School got grants for their robotics team, as well as the implementation of flexible seating. Meanwhile, Martin Elementary School received a grant for hands-on equations and Heineman Middle School received a grant for a collaborative building project.