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MORTON CONNECTION Morton students persevere and succeed in recent engineering event.


A Message from your leaders: Providing Enhanced Learning Opportunities in the New Year


of the Morton Board of Education’s five district goals is to provide enhanced learning opportunities for all children. We’re happy to share that as of this school year, Technology Service Internship students who earn a C or better and complete a certification program can receive dual credit through Morton College. Morton Numeracy Coaches recently attended the Illinois Council of Teachers Mathematics (ICTM) State Conference and presented a session focusing on how students involved in mathematics activities have experienced deeper levels of understanding through problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking. Our Special Education work study program reported that several students are scheduled to work for Little Caesars Pizza Co., which will have a positive impact on their development. Also, I am pleased to announce that a Morton Counselor Rosendo Arreguin has been selected as the recipient of this year’s University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award. This distinguished award invites entering, first-year students to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth. We are all appreciative of our students and the many other blessings of the holiday season.

Jeff Pesek School Board President

Grateful for Morton Pride

We hope our Morton family and friends enjoyed the holidays. I urge

each of us to take a few minutes to reflect on those things we can be thankful for in our daily lives. I am thankful that I have an opportunity to work in a school community that continues to engage students, increase student achievement, and improve the learning environment. I am thankful for the efforts put forward to help make our great activities a reality, such as Mathletes, athletics and our plays, The Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh, so our community can see that school is much more than one standardized test. I am also equally thankful for the efforts of those in our community who work collaboratively with our schools to help keep education and student safety at the forefront. Our dedicated school board continues to provide leadership and goals for these good things to occur. I am truly thankful for our local mayors and town presidents who support our schools against political adversity. Furthermore, I want to thank everyone who supported our fall theatre productions. I wish our community the best in 2017.

Dr. Mike Kuzniewski Superintendent

Your Board of Education | La Junta de Educación Jeff Pesek Kasumba “Kal” Lwanga PRESIDENT


Jessica Jaramillo-Flores Mark D. Kraft SECRETARY

Lido Manetti MEMBER


Margaret Kelly MEMBER


Sandra Tomschin MEMBER

Mandarin Program Coming to Morton In the 2017-18 school year, Morton is expanding the Modern Language offerings to incoming first-year students who are interested in learning Chinese. As we begin the process of adding Chinese to our offerings, Associate Superintendent Tim Truesdale, who is set to become the next superintendent of the district, signed a partnership agreement with Yangzi High School in Nanjing, China, on November 16th. Students who elect to take this course will experience a four-year, verticallyaligned curriculum with a focus on success on the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam during their senior year. Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, and it’s important for more students to study this language to meet the needs of an ever-shrinking global society. Students will learn to read, write, speak, and listen to Chinese while studying various themes to develop a deep understanding of the language and culture. Students will engage in enrichment activities in which they will experience Chinese culture and history firsthand as well as practice speaking Chinese in authentic settings.

Morton Shares AP District of the Year Success with Local Elementary Districts Over the past few months, Morton has visited elementary districts Cicero 99, Berwyn North 98, Berwyn South 100, and Lyons 103, to present each with its own AP District of the Year plaque in honor of the recognition we received. “On behalf of District 100, I’d like to express our pride in what you’ve accomplished over there,” said Robert Pauly, Berwyn South District 100 Board of Education President, about Morton having the top AP Program in the country. “We commend you, and we’re so grateful that our children can go into an environment like that so keep on challenging your students and keep up the good work.” Morton Superintendent Dr. Mike Kuzniewski responded by sharing how proud he was in return for the efforts done by local elementary districts to help the next generation of Morton Mustangs grow. Associate Superintendent Tim Truesdale and AP students who graduated from Berwyn South 100 joined the superintendent as he presented the plaque during a Berwyn South 100 Board Meeting in October.

Morton Students & Staff Spread Holiday Cheer

Morton District 201 Adopts Family Every Christmas, the Morton District 201 office adopts one student and his or her family. Staff members donated gifts or cash that was used to purchase gifts or groceries for a holiday dinner. Thank you to all who helped make sure our family of eight received what they wished for this year.

Morton Freshman Center Helps Others Stay Warm and Full Freshman Center TAG Club members held their annual food drive, raising thousands of food items for 45 families this past Thanksgiving. Club members and sponsors David Waldron and Leticia Corral collected and distributed 125 boxes packed with non-perishable foods donated by students and staff. Parent Liaison Linda Montejano and Morton Freshman Center staff members worked together to identify families who could most benefit from this assistance. The Freshman Center is also helping the less fortunate stay warm this cold winter season by donating coats to about 100 people and clothing for about 60 families. As part of the Giving Tree Project, the library and book club are presenting gifts to 52 children at the Red Feather Daycare and the daycare center at Morton East.

Morton West Donates Food and Toys Morton West held its annual canned food drive sponsored by MCA, Leadership, Service Club, and Joe Rizza Ford. Classes collected canned food for the Cicero-BerwynStickney Anti-Hunger Foundation. Furthermore, Key Club members spent their mornings taking donations for the Chicagoland Toys for Tots organization. Staff, faculty, and students dropped off new, unwrapped toys for children in need. Morton East Cares for the Homeless Morton East Bible Club members and teacher Bryan Revor have been providing goodie bags to Chicago’s homeless men and women for over 13 years. Three times every academic year, the student-led Bible Club takes field trips to feed and clothe the people living under Wacker Drive. Each goodie bag has essentials such as snacks, clothes, bottled water, toothpaste, toothbrushes, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper and other hygiene items donated by staff, faculty, and students.

Morton Theatre Students Present Fall Plays Morton Theatre students performed their fall plays. Morton West presented The Little Mermaid musical November 11th-13th, and Morton East showcased its rendition of Winnie the Pooh December 1st- 3rd. Both shows received praise from audience members for cast performances and stage design. Thank you to our talented, hard-working students and to all who saw their work and supported our fine arts department.

THE LITTLE MERMAID Ariel, Francis Espedido; Prince, Eric Michael Ghuneim; Ursula, Leanna Mazariego; Sebastian, Justin Ramirez; Flounder, Adam Wong; King Triton, Leonardo Lopez; Scuttle, David Vargas; Chef Louis, Jeremy Gavin; Grimsby, Robare Houstan; Pilot, Evan McWhinnie; Windward, Antonio Tamez; Leeward, Sonny Soto; Flotsam, Jacob Aviles; Jetsam, Jeremy Gavin. Crew: Jessica Eguia; Alyssa Hayes; Raquel Armas; Viviana Mendoza; David Noriega; Skyler Ewing; Gus Montano; Alex Barragan; Ari Guzman; Sam Hernandez; Alina Montalvo; Joseline Herrera; Victor Rosales; Sergio Canelo; Elvis Gualpa; Amy Christensen; Kassandra Garcia; Gracie Almazan; Diego Faz; Nayely Sanchez; Ashley Ortiz; Nina Cancellare; Sebastian DeSantiago; Alexis Berrera; Violet Martin; Briana Southwind; Catherine Crowley; Celeste Jimenez; Dalia Carmona; Anyce Paul-Emile; Azul Huerta; Angelica Lopez; Crystal Nino; Nathan Garza; Alexis Gonzalez; Yasmine Lopez; David Sandoval; Ana Grech; Angelica Gonzalez; Irma Gualpa; Roberto Jaime; Amalee Houston; Ruth Rico; Joe Matras; Diana Ibarra; Julissa Rojas; Miguel Sanchez. Special thanks to the mersisters, featured dancers, princesses, sea creatures, maids, sailors, chefs, production, and pit orchestra.

WINNIE THE POOH Christopher Robin, Felicia Carnley; The Narrator: Luis De Anda; Pooh, Brandon Nelson; Piglet, Karol Garfias; Eeyore, Erbie Mayhay; Owl, Angie Lyons; Rabbit, Misael Alejandre; Kanga, Samantha Zarate; Roo, Yailin Castillo; Animal 1 (Rabbit), Candice Crisp; Animal 2 (Baby Skunk), Ana Salazar; Animal 3 (Twin Rabbit), Kayla Goravica; Animal 4 (Twin Rabbit), Briana Goravica; Fawn, Daniela Perez; Frog, Sandra Cruz; Mother Skunk, Carolina Gutierrez; Doe, Fernanda Garcia; Turtle, Angel Rodriguez; Squirrel, Destiny Saucedo. Crew: Daniel Figueroa; Zuzel Garcia; Jackie Moreno; Fernando Lara; Jesus Macedo; Jonathan Perez; Xavier Samuels; Bryan Chavez; Emma Ramirez; Linda Rodriguez; Yvette Leon; Sam Colon; Silvana Bolec; Diego Flores; Freddy Villa.


Watch on


Morton Seniors See Benefits of Applying for FAFSA Early Morton Seniors saw more early college acceptance letters this year

than ever before. This academic year, the U.S. Department of Education opened Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in October instead of January. Instead of waiting until next year, high school seniors could apply for financial aid as early as October 1st. Although the change coincides with the time students submit their college applications, both students and parents are pleased Morton offers resources to make the process as seamless as possible. “They’re approving of the early start,” explained Shannon Konopasek, a Morton West Career Center Computer Lab Instructor. “They said they would not know what they needed to do if it wasn’t for us at Morton making phone calls, mailing out flyers, or posting tweets.” According to Morton West, about 30% of its seniors already completed their FAFSA applications. One of those seniors is Isabel Herrera. She plans to study criminology at Dominican University, one of the five schools that sent her an acceptance letter in November. “Morton is helpful. The career cruising lab provides a lot of information as well as the counselors and posters around the school. Everyone should come into the career cruising lab because if this wasn’t here, I don’t know what I would’ve done.” Shannon encourages her students to apply for FAFSA as early as possible by telling them the longer they wait, the less money they will receive. “I tell students they’re losing $100 a week.”

Someone to know: Kasumba “Kal” Lwanga Morton 201’s very own Kasumba “Kal” Lwanga doesn’t have a problem spreading the good news about the school district. He constantly wears his Morton Pride on his sleeve, almost literally. A Berwyn resident, Lwanga has been school board member for four years now, working on the human resources and finance committees, and doing his part to set higher standards for the kids at the four schools.

Morton Freshman Center Celebrates Winter Festival Students took their younger siblings, cousins, and neighbors to the ninth annual Festival Invernal, a holiday literacy event for young children in the community. Children between ages three and nine attended the family event on December 8th for an evening of holiday fun. Student volunteers guided children through a variety of interactive stations. Activities included crafts, storytelling, face painting, doughnut decorating, and games. Parents worked with an NEIU artist to create holiday crafts, and families helped create an interactive school and community art mural. Each child received a free book to keep and a large selection of gently-used books was available for families, as well. Parents also received information on reading and literacy. The Freshman Center’s Library and Book Club sponsored the event.

During his time on the board, Lwanga has worked to ensure the district has a balanced budget each year, a feat he is quite proud to say occurred again this year, and he has also seen the challenges of the switch to standardsbased grading for everyone involved. But, he says that the AP School District of the Year for 2016 has shown that Morton is heading in the right direction. When he is not working on board matters, or enjoying one of the many 201 events where he can be seen talking with students and parents alike, Lwanga is either visiting with his family or following his passion for amateur photography. He’ll even talk about the times when he was learning to take photos when cameras still had film in them!

Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Chicago, Il Permit No.3631

Morton High School District 201 5041 W 31st Street Cicero, Il 60804

Morton Students Redefine Reality in Husky Hack


Four Morton East students accomplished something extraordinary at Northern Illinois University’s overnight programming and engineering event on November 5th. At least half of the other Husky Hack competitors were from universities and affluent high schools in the area. Morton Industrial Technology Instructor, John Roach, said our three students had the attention of the whole competition as they tested digital devices and gathered data throughout the night while the other students were socializing. At 7:58 a.m. the next morning they were disqualified for not meeting an 8 a.m. deadline due to slow downloading. After appealing, the judges granted a submission extension. Finally, awards were presented. Exhausted and having lost faith, they listened to first the third and second place winners. Then Morton’s team was called out. There was hesitation because they couldn’t believe what they just heard: “FIRST PLACE, BEST IN SHOW.” With only a few thrift-store appliances and hardware devices, they designed their winning project, the Smart Home Appliance Detector. In just a few hours they had gone from being disqualified to being recognized as leaders in innovation. Congratulations to seniors Arileny Chavarry, Gilberto Pineda, Alondra Corro, and junior Luis Vazquez. ​


(708) 222-5700

Morton Connection #24  

Morton students persevere and succeed in recent engineering event.

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