The Quest July 2009

Page 1


Taylor Almeraz - 7th Grade

For families, alumni, and friends of Quest Ac Academy cademy

09. 3


The Quest - SPRING 2008-2009


by Courtney Capra, 6th grade

National History Day Frani O’Toole - 6th Grade (right) presented a 10-minute dramatic performance detailing the legacy of 19th century Chicago beef baron, Gustavus Swift. This article is reprinted from the May 22, 2009 Weekly Quest.

At Quest Academy, History Fair is an extremely important event, teaching the importance of certain events and individuals of the past who made America the ideal example it is currently.

Four documentaries, one performance, five papers, and two boards advanced to the state history fair. Teachers and fellow peers were thrilled by Frani’s progress in the History Fair.

The seventh and eighth graders compete every other year, each with one goal in mind: to advance to the National competition. On February 25, 2009, the middle school gathered together, revealing superb and artistic poster boards, acting in dramatic historical performances, screening homemade and professional documentaries, and turning in sensitive and well researched papers. It was truly amazing to see each pupil’s diligent work be rewarded. This History Fair in particular was unlike the past competitions.

Due to Frani’s superb perseverance, credible sources, realistic and fantastic presentation, she accomplished the one ambition that the entire middle school desires: the opportunity to progress to National History Day held in Washington, D.C.

Instead of restricting History Fair to the seventh and eighth graders, Mr. Shilhanek, co-teacher of middle school language arts and social studies teacher along with Mrs. Kozakowski, decided to make an exception for a sixth grader who was passionate about history. Twelve-year-old Frani O’ Toole has astonished the Quest Academy community who watched her History Fair presentation. She truly has remarkable ability and an inspiring determination. After observing Frani’s passionate response to history during class, Mr. Shilhanek determined that Frani was diligent and industrious enough to handle History Fair. “I think one of the great things about Quest is that we can challenge kids in so many ways,” Mr. Shilhanek said. “When she did her state map project, I saw her passion for history, and I saw someone who was ready to take on that kind of a challenge as a sixth grader. That’s the beauty of differentiation we can do at Quest Academy.” Frani was anxious before her initial performance. “Honestly when History Fair was drawing near, I was practicing my performance once every evening” Frani stated. After all of her research, revisions, and preparation, she succeeded and moved onto the Regional competition along with other Quest students including two boards, five documentaries, two performances, and five papers. Frani continued to impress judges and teachers alike with her convincing and emotional performance about Gustavus Swift’s bloody and horrific legacy in the Chicagoland area.

In Washington, she was not accompanied by other students from Quest Academy. She struggled to describe what she felt about her accomplishment, “So much more than happy. I cannot put it into words.” Frani was not given time in class to practice or prepare for the competitions, and she started working later than her peers. Yet, she still advanced and achieved her goal despite these hindrances. Mr. Dibuz, Director of Teaching and Learning, said, “I’m not surprised that Frani O’ Toole made it. She is so passionate about doing a good job. I am very proud of her, and we are glad that she represented Quest.”

Follow up from Mr. Shilhanek: “I was so proud of Frani. I spoke to her father after her performance, and he said that Frani was at her peak. Frani thoroughly enjoyed her experience on the University of Maryland campus. She interacted with students from other states by exchanging pins and participating in all of the sponsored activities. She and her family also took time to visit the historical sites around the area, including Washington, D.C.” “She conducted herself with poise and such maturity. I know she didn’t make it to the finals, but what an accomplishment just to get there. I so look forward to what she will do in two years when we participate in History Fair again.” “I was fortunate enough to function as a judge at National History Day,” Shilhanek continued. “It was an incredible learning experience for me. I judged fourteen boards with two other judges. We literally saw an incredible range of quality of the board presentation and in their research. What I truly learned about History Fair from judging is just how valuable and vital it is for students to have extensive and quality research. What the boards and performances and documentaries show the judges are all important, but if the research does not support the theme, the project is not as good.”



Welcome To Our New Families We’re so happy you’re here! Our faculty, staff and fellow parents welcome you to the Quest family. We hope you will take advantage of the activities we have planned to make you feel a part of our community. You are encouraged to attend the New Family Orientation on Friday, September 4, to start getting familiar with the school and your new teachers. Parent School Association (PSA) meetings are open to everyone and PSA volunteer opportunities are ongoing throughout the year and a great way to get involved. Feel free to ask questions of anyone! We’re all here to help. Be sure to explore our web site - and become familiar with the Parents News & Events section to find current information. Visit teacher pages through the Faculty & Staff Directory, update your contact information in the Family Directory. Bookmark the news page - this is where you will find information on events, a school calendar, and the weekly school newsletter. Be sure we have your preferred e-mail address and phone numbers! Watch for more special events all year long. We look forward to getting to know you. Welcome to Quest Academy! Note: The PSA Buddy Family Coordinator is Mr. Dan Gacek. Kids’ Corner

The Annual Fund Annual Fund Total 200



dollars (thousands)


160 2007-2008 2008-2009

Current Parent Participation 70 60 50 40 30


20 10 0 2007-2008 2008-2009

Thanks to everyone for your generous support!



The Quest - SPRING 2008-2009


Quest Academy Who’s Who

nancy cohn Mrs. Nancy Cohn teaches Quest Academy’s Kindergarten Manatees. She came to the school 15 years ago, and after a short time as an assistant in a class of third- and fourth-graders, she has taught both Kindergarten and first-grade students since. Before coming to Quest, she worked at United Airlines and in the South Barrington park district. Mrs. Cohn loves the untarnished innocence of her students. “They’re full of wonder,” she said. “Often it’s the first time my students are hearing the information I’m teaching. And nothing is more rewarding than teaching children to read.” Mrs. Cohn also values Quest’s buddy program, which pairs each of her students with a fifth-grader. “The older kids really care about being good role models,” she said. This training in good character is dear to her. “I want to teach students to manage themselves, to use their intellect with modesty, and to appreciate one another’s talents.” Mrs. Cohn lives in Palatine with her husband, Larry, an agent in commercial real estate, and daughter Trisha, an aide here at Quest. Daughter Lauren, an importer and exporter in a Chicago firm, gets married in August. Son, Tyler attends medical school at University of Illinois Chicago. Away from Quest, Mrs. Cohn enjoys the outdoors—especially biking and walking. And she loves walking her rounds of golf, which she played competitively at the University of Florida. Now she likes the leisure of not keeping score.

hether hoffmann Ms. Hether Hoffmann knew she wanted to be an art teacher as soon as she met her own first-grade art teacher, who asked his students to draw their shoes, an assignment that Ms. Hoffmann’s fifth-grade students know well. Besides fifth-graders, Ms. Hoffmann, for the past 13 years, has taught art at Quest Academy to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students, as well, and next year she adds fourth-graders to her list of charges. Before coming to Quest, Ms. Hoffman taught art at Milwaukee’s Urban Waldorf School and taught design at the University of Kansas, where she earned her master’s degree in fine arts. Though Ms. Hoffmann has been developing her craft for more than 20 years, she nonetheless always looks for new ideas. Recently, she attended a Chicago Architecture Foundation workshop, The American Skyscraper. Her interest in avant-garde art ideas keeps her lessons and student project ideas fresh and innovative. Ms. Hoffmann makes certain that her lessons teach that art is produced over time and with a plan. “I want my students to see the process of how art is created,” she said. “I want them to understand the different types of perspective an artist might choose in laying out a plan.” Producing art, she also said, teaches the creative process more generally, a process that “gives us innovations in architecture and the pleasant designs in all the objects around us—from tablemats to silverware to furniture.” Ms. Hoffmann lives in Chicago with her husband, Tom, a computer programmer, and their two-year-old son, Beckett. Together they spend time in the outdoors, and on her own, Ms. Hoffmann is a serious kayak enthusiast. After a recent eight-mile open-water crossing to Wisconsin’s South Manatu Island, her group was stranded two days awaiting calmer waters.


by Tom Staley

cathy gruzinsky

When Mrs. Cathy Gruzinsky considered names for her third-grade class, she deliberated carefully, even consulting friends at Quest. She ultimately selected the red-eyed tree frogs because they happen to be an animal from a region of study in her class and also because they appeal to both genders. Mrs. Gruzinsky’s desire to please all her students extends well beyond choosing a class identity. She is proud of her extensive knowledge of individual student interests, talents, and learning styles. “I know my kids really well,” she said. “I look at how each child learns.” Noting her students’ various methods of study, Mrs. Gruzinsky creates lessons to suit their needs. “I love the creative freedom we have here at Quest,” she said. “I like to teach in an ‘out of the box’ type of way. I can take an ordinary lesson and make it my own, with technology, props, puppets, and characters. I like to make my lessons come alive.” The look of her classroom defends her unique creativity. Mrs. Gruzinsky first came to Quest in 1988, and until 1995 she taught both kindergarten and first-grade students. She returned to Quest in 2006. In the years between she and her husband, Mike, an electrician, raised their two boys, Kevin, 12, a middle schooler, and Joe, 14, a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School. Mrs. Gruzinsky’s time away from Quest is happily consumed with her family in their Arlington Heights home.

summer activity

Leapfrog At Quest For three weeks in July, our building was full of students attending the Northwestern University Center For Talent Development Leapfrog Summer Program. Students entering prekindergarten through third grade were involved in building bridges, budgeting a business, exploring space, making puppets and more. The CTD Saturday Enrichment Program will be held at our campus starting Fall 2009


The Quest - SPRING 2008-2009


outdoor ed

n o t g h n e Peshtigo i ft

Rafting and canoe trips are a tradition at Quest. Mr. Stoffregen organized a 7th/8th grade and an alumni rafting trip to Wildman Whitewater Rafting on the Peshtigo River in Wisconsin in June. These weekends are jam-packed with fun and adventure, rafting, hiking, cooking over the campfire and end with a bluegrass music barbecue. The Peshitigo is full of grade 2 and 3 rapids and depending on water flow, either one or two-man rafts are used. A perfect ending to another school year!

message from the head As I begin my third year of service as Head of School at Quest Academy, it is beginning to dawn on me that visions actually do come true. More importantly, I realize that as visions are being carried out, it is far more important to lay the groundwork for visions yet to be realized. Allow me to reflect on a few visionary projects coming to fruition and new visions being formulated and planned. Mission accomplished: • Technology: Thanks to the generosity of donors, Quest Academy now is pleased to report that each classroom will feature SMART Board technology in the 2009/10 school year. Two years ago, we did not have any such technology. • Personnel: We have successfully transitioned our Admission and Development offices into the Advancement department, creating a consistent, team-oriented approach to admission, marketing, communications and philanthropy. On the academic side, we have developed administrative positions related to academic and socialemotional programs and curricula. • Curriculum: We have introduced a Middle School Chinese Language and Culture class that will enter its second year. This year, we will introduce the external MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) testing that will adjust itself to a student’s academic level and subsequently focus on that student’s growth. • Environmental Sustainability: This summer, we are installing solar panels to show our students that there are alternative sources of energy – students will be able to track our power being generated

• •

and compare and contrast this data with schools throughout the country. Communication: During the past two years, we have gone paperless, increasingly relying on teacher and school e-newsletters. Summer Programming: We have partnered with Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development and are now offering mission-appropriate gifted education summer programming to preschool through 3rd grade levels. Teacher Training: In partnering with other area gifted education schools and Northwestern University’s graduate School of Education and Social Policy, we are offering our faculty a six-course program that comprises Northwestern’s gifted education concentration.

Mission to be accomplished: • After an entire year of planning and meeting as regards Quest Academy’s strategic plan, the Board of Trustees is poised to adopt this plan at its September meeting. Further campus expansion, especially as relates to providing green space for our students, will be the plan’s centerpiece. The new strategic plan will also lay out a vision whereby Quest Academy will strengthen its position as a national leader in providing gifted education services and programming at the elementary and middle school levels. It is an exciting time at Quest Academy. Moving forward, we are mindful that it is the sense of community among students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni that is the backbone of our school. Ben Hebebrand


alumni news

Where Are They Now... The Quest Academy Class of 2005 is about to embark on new adventures in college and beyond. A number of them shared their college choices and intended areas of study with us: Name Andrew P. Anderson, '05 Caroline Bank, '05 John Beam Jr., '05 Mario Cuttone, '05 Adam Daniel-Wayman, '05 Katie Dickerson, '05 Scott Firth, '05 Jesse A. Friedman, '05 Paul Frosik, '05 Eric Geissler, '05 Alex Grabowski, '05 Kayla Grayson, '05 Michelle Grube, '05 Michael Hauser, '05 John Hubberts, '05 Patrick Hurst, II, '05 Megan Karande, '05 Lina Kavaliunas, '05 Steven Maas, '05 Anita Mehta, '05 Christopher Morrow, '05 Daniel M. Nelsen, '05 Alex Petrushin, '05 Abigail Pollokoff, '05 Joanie Rosenson, '05 Stephanie Schmitt, '05 Christi Seidensticker, '05 Emma Spady, '05 Lauren Whitacre, '05

College Major Cornell College Cellular and Molecular Biology Yale University Undecided Colgate University Economics and History Loyola University Chicago Finance and Management American University in Washington, D.C. School of Public Affairs University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana Psychology Clemson University Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Pursuing a combined BFA in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania (5-year program) University of Colorado at Boulder Aerodynamics Engineering University of Wisconsin Platteville Software Engineering Northwestern University Chemical Engineering Northwestern University Cognitive Science and Dance University Of Illinois Champaign/Urbana Theater Georgetown University Business Purdue University Mechanical Engineering MIT Computer Science/Math Princeton University Undecided Vassar College Biology and Visual Arts (painting) Michigan State University (Lyman Briggs College) Biology Boston University Premed program - Biochemistry and molecular Biology major with Math and French minor University of Iowa Undecided Dodge College of Film & Media Arts Film Production and Psychology at Chapman University UIC Biomedical Engineering Tulane University Undecided Washington & Lee University Political Science Wellesley College University of Chicago Undecided Swathmore College possibly Psychobiology Columbia College - Chicago Photography

Other Alumni Updates: Traci Zamp, ’94 graduated from Roosevelt University in May with a degree in Education. Amy Buenning Sturm, ’97 served as a civilian Public Affairs Specialist for U.S. Army Garrison Darmstadt in Darmstadt, Germany, prior to joining the Security Studies Program. Amy has also worked as a Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow at The Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington DC, on the Southwest Asia/Gulf Security Project. She is a Truman Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a recipient of the Army’s Achievement Medal for Civilian Service. Amy graduated summa cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Political Science and Diplomatic Studies in 2005. Laura Kelly, ’98 is working at a non-profit agency in Normal, IL that offers behavioral health services. Laura works in the research and training division and travel throughout the US and Canada to train substance abuse counselors. “I’ve also been using my French degree to do some translation work. Overall, a pretty wonderful job!” Mark Buenning, ’99 is currently residing in California. He graduated in May from Columbia College Chicago. Look for him on Facebook as Mark Lorenz, his stage name in Los Angeles. Sarah Gipp, ’01 graduated in May from Illinois Wesleyan University with a major in Environmental Studies. Alexandra McLaughlin, ’03 is attending Georgetown University majoring in International Economics. Juliana McLaughlin, ’04 is attending Georgetown University majoring in Government and History. Andrew Anderson, ’05 will be on the Wrestling Team at Cornell College Scott Firth, ’05 was taken in the 36th round by the Baltimore Orioles in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft in June. Scott, who was named Lake County Pitcher of the year, has signed a national letter of intent with Clemson University. John Hubberts, ’05 will be playing in the Purdue Jazz Band Patrick Hurst, ’05 was selected to be a member of the United States Physics Team. Only 20 students nationally are chosen for the 2009 team from a pool of 2000 nominees. Steven Maas, ’05 is currently in New Zealand taking part in a study abroad program, studying the natural environment-plants and ecology. Shelby Daniel-Wayman, ’08 will be starting at IMSA for the 2009/10 school year.

13 tue

calendar ofCoffee events Neighborhood 7:00 pm


3 - 10 mon-mon

IAGC Gifted Education Seminar

10 - 28 mon-fri

Quest Summer Camps

28 - 30 fri - sun Palatine Street Fest

16 wed

Admission Tour 8:45 am Middle School Meet the Teacher Night 7:00 pm

21 mon

School Picture Day

23 - 25 wed-fri

Middle School Outdoor Ed Trips

30 wed

19 mon

Neighborhood Coffee 7:00 pm

21 wed

Admission Tour 8:45 am

22 - 23 thu-fri

Parent Teacher Conferences

26 - 29 mon-thu ERB Test Week

Preschool Open House 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Admission Tour 8:45 am Neighborhood Coffee 7:00 pm



Neighborhood Coffee 7:00 pm

New Family Orientation 10:00 am - 10:30 am Open Classrooms 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Ladies’ Night Out 6:30 pm The Grand Station, Arlington Heights

Classroom Halloween Parties 2:30 pm

07 mon

Neighborhood Coffee 7:00 pm

29 sat

04 fri

Labor Day No School

08 tue

First Day of School Lower School Welcome Coffee 8:30 am

02 wed

Middle School Welcome Coffee 8:30 am

10 thu

Lower School Meet the Teacher Night 7:00 pm

15 tue

PSA Meeting 8:45 am

07 wed

Admission Tour 8:45 am

09 fri

12 mon

Columbus Day No School

13 tue

Neighborhood Coffee 7:00 pm

14 wed

Admission Tour 8:45 am

Office of Institutional Advancement 500 North Benton Palatine, Illinois 60067 847.202.8035

30 fri

05 mon

Family Storytelling/Reading Night 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

09 fri

28 wed

THE QUEST is published for families, alumni, and friends of Quest Academy. It is produced by the Office of Institutional Advancement Address Changes: Readers who wish to change their mailing address for The Quest, may call Lynda Eckardt at 847.202.8035, extension 461 or e-mail Head of School Managing Editor Editor and Designer Photography Contributing Writers

Ben Hebebrand Michael Bates Sharon Rockhill Faculty & Staff Ben Hebebrand Lynda Eckardt Tom Staley Courtney Capra

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