As we are now into our third school year of being disrupted by the pandemic and dealing with the distractions and challenges of keeping the district up and running, I wanted to be sure to refocus this message on the young people in our district, which is why we are here, and highlight their resilience under some extreme circumstances.
To start, there is a lot to celebrate when you have six National Merit Semi-Finalist sitting in your classrooms. Congratulations to seniors David Bian, Joey D'Allesandro, Alyssa Marotta, Andrew Pilarczyk, Andy Ploskunak and Thomas Stoycos. This recognition is quite an honor as it signifies that they have scored in the top one percent on the PSAT as compared to classmates across the country! Speaking of being tops in the country, did you know that senior Dylan Fishback is the top rated wrestler in the 195-pound weight class in the NATION? Even with Aurora’s storied tradition of excellent wrestlers, we have never had an individual rated this high. However, why stop at the national borders? I’m thinking of Akash Lokesh’s recognition in the 2021 International music competition “London Grand Prize Virtuoso.” Along with this recognition, Akash has been invited to perform at Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall (London, UK) this coming year. Of course, there is plenty to celebrate closer to home as well.
You might have heard “Thunder Over Aurora,” earlier in the season as the AHS band hosted schools from eight local districts. However, if you caught the grand finale you would have seen the AHS band literally light it up with the help of freshman majorette Marla Edgecomb who provided the fireworks by simultaneously twirling three flaming batons while performing the finale. It was amazing. Great job also goes out to seniors and cross country runners Morgan Schmidt and Matt Singleton who both recently broke long standing school records in their respective classification. Morgan’s time of 18:31 minutes surpassed a school record that stood since 2014 and Matt’s record run of 15:29 minutes bested a school time established in 1999. We have been enjoying some team success this fall as well with the girls’ tennis team off to a 10-1 start and the boys’ golf team winning the Suburban League Tournament and holding a 10-0 dual meet record up to this point. Solid seasons are also being established by the girls’ golf team, both boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, and the volleyball team. Finally, the football team seems to be preparing for another deep state playoff run with some impressive wins up to now while sporting a 6-0 record and a ranking of #3 in the State poll going into Homecoming weekend.
Homecoming weekend not only brings back our alumni, but gives us a chance to honor them as well as our outstanding staff. This year is no different as we saw the induction of Joe Cech (07) and Wes Miller (07) into the Athletic Hall of Fame and we honored Ken Mitroff (AHS/Harmon) with his addition to the Honored Educator’s Wall at AHS. The Homecoming festivities continued for our current Greenmen as they enjoyed a fun filled spirit week as well. Celebrities, big hair from the 80s, a visit from all four seasons, and (my favorite) class color day made appearances throughout the week creating great memories for the young people in our district.
Activities and athletics help to build memories of the PreK-12 experience, but it is the nurturing of the roots every day in the classroom that make the difference for young people in Aurora. The academic opportunities through lessons designed to meet young people where they are and then to build off of what they know is best accomplished when they are able to collaborate and learn with their classmates and teachers in person. These experiences have been able to take place this year, even in the middle of a pandemic, because the young people in grades PreK-12 have been willing to do whatever it takes to stay in school. I salute their resilience and determination to continue to grow and learn under the circumstances. I also want to thank the administrators and staff in all of our buildings for creating a culture that supports these learners.
Please help us to continue to provide these experiences and learning opportunities by being sure to vote this November 2, 2021. The Aurora City School District has a 7.33 mil renewable levy on the ballot which means NO NEW TAXES. However, the passage of this levy, which has happened every five years since 1987, is critical as the levy annually generates nearly five million dollars for the district which is close to 12% of our annual budget. Thank you for your continued support of the young people in the Aurora City Schools and for taking the time to read this message.