When a teacher tells you, "You have a brilliant mind, you don't forget it," said Ashley Ramagila, a 2011 graduate of Downers Grove South. Mrs. David, Ashley’s English teacher, was always impressed with her writing ability and used those five words as a testament to what she saw in her.
Ashley never thought of herself as brilliant. “Knowing I was clever was obvious, since I could talk my way out of anything and could skip school without my dad ever knowing. Yet, talented, astute and intellectual, never crossed my mind.”
Ashley was absent most of her high school years. If she went to school, it was only to appease her mother, who worried she wouldn’t get into college. Despite continual trips to Dean Davis’ office, she still didn’t grasp the benefit of a high school education. Stated Ashley, “Although I knew I wanted to go to college, I just couldn’t conform to the day-to-day expectations of high school. Looking back though, it would have been much easier to transition to college had I built the skills necessary to study, take tests and stay organized.”
Ashley knew she was a good writer. Her grades in English are what likely put her on stage to accept her high school diploma. After that, college!
Ashley attended College of DuPage (COD), where she earned her Associates Degree. Her next step would be to apply for and receive a scholarship to attend Elmhurst College. There, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree (B.A.) in English. Still, the journey wasn’t over.
Ashley always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. In fact, a high school law class confirmed her passion. “It was one class that I actually loved taking! “ said Ashley.
It would take perseverance and great determination to meet the demands made on her in law school. It was in those times that the words Mrs. David spoke, gave her strength. “You have a brilliant mind!” Those words, like a shield of confidence, encouraged Ashley to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer.
Ashley took the LSAT, a test that is required to be accepted into law school. With a high LSAT score, combined with her GPA, Ashley received a full scholarship to Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where she will graduate with a law degree in 2018!
Ashley’s success is due to hard work! She also knew her high school teacher, Mrs. David, had great faith in her ability to succeed. Just a few words of wisdom helped Ashley remain steadfast.
Ashley proclaimed, “I want to let Mrs. David and Dean Davis know I made it! I want to thank them for believing in me, when I wasn’t sure. Still, for the naysayers, if you have to face me in a courtroom one day, you should know, that I have a brilliant mind! Just ask my H.S. English Teacher!”
This past September, Charlie Williams and his business partner Brad Boskovic stood before the Sharks on ABC’s hit program Shark Tank, in hopes of receiving an investment for their printing business DigiWrap. Eleven years earlier, Charlie Williams, a 2006 North High School graduate, never imagined a career in business, let alone the notoriety that goes along with appearing on a primetime television show.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school,” Williams explained. “This certainly wasn’t a blip on the radar.” While Williams looks back fondly on his high school experience at North, what he remembers most are the relationships he had with teachers and classmates. This includes winning the interest of Stephanie Harrington, his high school sweetheart, who he later married.
By: Denise Callarman
Colleen Murphy-Sanborn, passed away May 23, 2017. Ms. Murphy-Sanborn was a proud Sacred Heart College alumnus. She was an English teacher at Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South.
Fast forward four years later and a college degree from Illinois State University, Williams began working for a family-owned printing company in Glendale Heights named Lingraph. It was at Lingraph where he met Boskovic. When the two produced custom tissue paper at the request of one of their customers, they realized they had created a product no one else in their industry was offering. After a few short weeks of offering this product on their website, Yahoo became their first high profile customer. “That was when it started…once we got this order that was when we made this product our priority,” Charlie stated.
After learning about an open casting call for Shark Tank in downtown Chicago, Williams and Boskovic had their sights set on bringing their custom printed products in front of the Sharks. Although, the audition nearly didn’t happen – they didn’t start preparing for the audition until 7:30 p.m. the night before. On June 13, 2016, Williams and Boskovic were among 500 entrepreneurs who auditioned in front of Shark Tank producers in hopes of advancing in the audition process. “It was made known to all of us that few, if any, entrepreneurs would catch the attention of producers,” recalled Williams. Days later the phone call came from show producers informing Williams and Boskovic they’d be moving on to the next round in the process. After a successful video audition, the two were flown out to California in September.
Williams remembers the process of being selected for the show as a whirlwind. “From the time we auditioned until we filmed our episode, it felt as though we had two full time jobs…running our business during the day and completing everything asked of us from Shark Tank in the evening.”
After an hour of filming, DigiWrap accepted an offer from Kevin O’Leary for 20% equity in exchange for $150,000 and royalties on gift wrap and tissue paper sales. When the episode aired in December, Williams gathered with family to watch. “I was happy with the way the episode was edited and how brilliant they made us look,” said Williams. Since the episode aired on national television, DigiWrap experienced a significant increase in sales. “That’s the power of Shark Tank; not only the opportunity to partner with a Shark, but also the exposure your business receives from being on national television,” noted Williams.
Autumn Geist (DGS, 1987) graduated 30 years ago this year. She has remained actively involved at DGS where she coaches the 2017 IHSA State Champion and nationally recognized speech team. Additionally, she has worked on the 20th, 25th and 30th year class reunions. Professionally, Autumn wears a few hats as a sales and marketing consultant, professional private speech coach and future retail specialty store co-owner. Autumn is the mother of 3 and resides in neighboring Lisle, which she believes is DuPage County's best kept secret. Autumn is looking forward to contributing to the alumni newsletter and keeping DGS alum informed.
By: Autumn Geist, May 25, 2017
30 Year Reunion DGS and DGN - Friday Night, October 13th, will be the DGS and DGN Crosstown football game. Alum from both schools will be attending, with post game plans in the works. Click on the images for more details!
D99 Editor: Juli Gniadek
The District 99 Education Foundation is proud to publish the first issue of the D99 Alumni Newsletter! It's our desire to bring you "back to school" with great stories, fond memories, special events and new opportunities. If you have a story, an article, or a photo, you would like to share, please send it to email@example.com.
The D99 Education Foundation was created to raise funds to support teacher grants and other great projects. We also provide scholarship grants (through a specific program) for students that want to go to college, but need a little help getting there.
The Foundation's focus is on innovation in the classroom, to enhance student learning and prepare students for the 21st century. The Foundation partners with community leaders, corporations and D99 to help fill in the gaps when traditional funding is not available.
Whether you have a student in one of the D99 schools, or have a commitment to your alma mater, we encourage you to participate with the Foundation through volunteerism, donations or share our fundraising events with others on social media.
When we come together as a community of Alumni, for the common good of our young people,
we can be certain that even the smallest effort is vitally important.
Class of 1967 50th reunion - Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, 2017; For more information please contact Judie Scheck-Anderson at Suburbanite Bowl 630-968-2200.
Class of 1987 reunion - to be held on Saturday, October 14th 6:30-11:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, Downers Grove, IL. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1977 - Looking to see if this class would like to have a reunion. Contact us if interested in getting together! We will get a group together.
Virtual Reunion - All WDGC-FM Alumni are invited to join the dedicated Alumni Facebook page!
Ms. Miller and Alex Olsen
From Left: Leslie Miller, Barb Lufrano, Jackie McCormick, and Lynn Hamilton.
Patricia R. Gronlund, passed away March 4, 2017- Ms. Gronlund began her career as a German teacher in 1970 at District 99 Downers Grove South High School. Along with her regular classroom duties, she tutored student, was active in German Club activities and participated in many student trips to Europe. Ms. Gronlund attended the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana and graduated in 1968 with a degree in the teaching of the German language. She achieved a Master's degree from Northern Illinois University and also became qualified to teach Spanish.
From left to right, Jackie McCormick, Donna Bryar, Barbara Czarnik, Lois Graham, Chris Guerrier, Lynn Hamilton, and Jolie Fredette
By: Denise Callarman
Top Left: Jeff Bryant, Jenneine Rowley, Laura Coster, Jim Crider. Middle: Diana Nasca. Front: Sue Salo, Sue Zanotti
September 22 - 23
June, 2017 Issue
The newsletter team is a group of dedicated volunteers interested in creating content worth reading! The team consists of a group of people that enjoy making a difference by connecting Alumni to community, school and current students in a way that will inspire creativity and learning through the gift of words, images and stories. Want to join us? Email us at email@example.com.
On May 24th, Williams returned to North High School to share his business knowledge and Shark Tank experience with students in the Entrepreneurship course. Students were excited to receive business advice from Williams and gain insight into his journey of appearing on Shark Tank. “This was an incredible opportunity for North students to learn from a successful young entrepreneur. While students loved hearing about Charlie’s experience on Shark Tank, this was an opportunity for students to make a connection with an entrepreneur who was walking the same hallways only a few years earlier,” said Entrepreneurship teacher, Drew Himes.
Time will only tell if we’ll see more District 99 graduates going toe-toe with Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, or Mark Cuban.
By: James Workman, DGS Teacher
Pictured Left: Kierstyn Harrington (DGN, 2011), DigiWrap, Charlie Williams (DGN, 2006), DigiWrap, Drew Himes, DGN Career & Technical Education teacher, Mark Mirandola, DGN Activities Director.
In memory of those we lost recently. If you have a person that you would like placed on our memorial page, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald W. Moravec, passed away April 21, 2017. Dr. Moravec began his career at Downers Grove North High School, spanning more than three decades as a physical education teacher, football coach, wrestling coach, girls' badminton coach, girls' tennis coach, and, finally, as dean of students. He received his B.A. from North Central College, obtained his M.A. with an emphasis in Communication Science from Governors State University, and was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Sarasota in Florida. Dr Moravec was also a 1964 DGN graduate.
By: Mark Mirandola
June is the end of the year for D99 students, teachers and staff. In this issue we will present our list of retirees, 2017 class reunions and much more. We chose the title "That's a Wrap" to highlight our featured article this quarter. Read more about Co-Founder, Charlie Williams of DigiWrap, and his journey on Shark Tank. Charlie is a 2006 DGN alum! That's a Wrap also wraps up the 2016/17 school year. Check out the D99 update and year in review by Jill Browning, Director of Communications at D99.
If you registered to receive this newsletter, thank you for joining us! If you received an issue through our website or social media, be sure to register so that you can be sure to receive our fall newsletter! You won't want to miss the next issue. Enjoy!
The D99 Education Foundation Board of Directors would like to thank you for reading Compass News. This newsletter is yours! Feel free to share photos, stories and memories. Welcome back to school!
Art Janowiak (DGS, 2005) is the VP of Sales and Marketing for The Conover Company. The Conover Company create assessments and curriculum for school districts to prepare students for college and career readiness. Art leads his team to support school districts across the nation to use their tools to improve outcomes. He graduated from Downers Grove South in 2005 and St. Norbert College in 2009. He currently lives in Appleton, WI with his wife and two daughters. He loves coming back home to visit family and catch up with classmates. Go Mustangs!
“Thanks to the District 99 Education Foundation grant that was awarded to us, the teachers of anatomy and physiology courses have been able to purchase equipment and materials that would not otherwise be possible within our regular budget,” says James Workman, Science Teacher at Downers Grove South High School.
Most recently, the science department was granted by the Foundation the wonderful opportunity to purchase a class set of EKG sensors. Now, instead of merely seeing an idealized example EKG diagram in a text, or on a screen, these sensors allow students to visualize and record an EKG of their own heart.
“Watching students enthusiastically see and record a graphic image of their own EKG at rest, and then again after engaging in exercise may have been one of the most gratifying days I’ve had as a teacher over my 17-year career,” says Workman.
Denise Callarman, Executive Director of the District 99 Education Foundation, expressed her own enthusiasm for the Foundation’s role in the purchase of the new EKG sensors. “Knowing we can fund a project that impressed upon students the importance of learning about how their own bodies work, is just the kind of initiative the Education Foundation is interested in supporting," noted Callarman. "As students learn about how activity affects their heart, they can make better decisions on how to keep their hearts strong."
Class of 1967 - 50th Reunion September 21-24.
See http://www.rogerwimmer.com/2017reunion.htm for details of the events. RSVP by July 1. Questions? Email Sandy Bronson at email@example.com. Send digital memories by August 1st to: Jenny Samuel - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 1977 - 40th Reunion - Saturday, September 23
Moose Lodge in Downers Grove.
Class of 1997 - 20th Reunion - Saturday, September 23
Moose Lodge in Downers Grove. 20 year reunion Homecoming weekend: September 22nd - 23rd, 2017 contact: email@example.com
Class of 2007 - 10th Reunion - Saturday, November 25 at Another Round in Downers Grove. Visit dgnclassof2007.wordpress.com for details or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual Reunion - All WDGC-FM Alumni are invited to join the dedicated Alumni Facebook page!
By: Jill Browning, D99 Director of Communications
Back row: Pat Roth, Karl Collins, Jon Stapleton, Sandra Largen, Connie Petrakos Front row: Kathy Myles, Anita Carpenter, Sue Dalo, Susan Zanotti
Ashley Ramagila, DGS Alum
Every year the District 99 Education Foundation hosts Pizza Wars! Save the date for March 1, 2018 at 6:00PM. Once again we will be hosting the event in the DGS Cafeteria. Vote for your favorite pizza, while supporting D99 students. Tickets will be limited, and plans to improve the wait lines are underway! Special thanks to Martha Merilos for her years of chairing Pizza Wars and making it a huge success!
Please share with us any links, resources and happenings that you want in your next newsletter! Thank you!
Dedicate a gift that will be part of your school for generations!
The Walk of Honor was created by the District 99 Education Foundation to provide a lasting memorial at North or South High School. The walkways at North High and South High celebrate the rich tradition of the two schools by honoring individuals and groups who have made a mark on their histories.
You have an opportunity to give a long-standing gift, one that will not only honor a special group or person, but will help further the educational opportunities of the students of District 99. Individuals, businesses and other groups are invited to purchase a brick for the Walk of Honor.
Consider purchasing a brick as a way to:
An 8" x 8" brick is $250; a 4" x 8" brick is $100.
Left & Right: DGN Students, Center: Charlie Williams, DigiWrap.
The 2016-17 school year is coming to a close at District 99, and the Class of 2017 is set to graduate on June 9. Throughout the year, students continued to perform well academically and made notable (and numerous!) accomplishments in their extracurricular activities as well. Check out the 2016/17 Year in review!
You are always welcome to visit! Check the school websites for complete calendar listings of performances and athletic events in 2017-18. Homecoming is another popular time for alumni to visit. North High’s homecoming game will be on Friday, September 22 (vs. Glenbard West); South High’s homecoming will be on Friday, September 29 (vs. Morton).
Eric Olson, President
Megan Schroeder, Vice-President
Susan Kerr, Secretary
Diane Richard, Treasurer
Terry Pavesich, D99 Board of Education
Hank Thiele, D99 Superintendent
Mark Mirandola - At the start of the 2017-2018 school year Mark Mirandola will be serving North High School as the Director of Student Activities. During his 10 years at North, Mark has served as a Business Education teacher, football coach, Department Chair of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department, and the Assistant Student Activities Director. During his time as Department Chair, District 99 built exemplary student programs in the areas of business, computer science, and engineering.
Alex Olsen, DGN Alum, volunteers in Ms. Miller's classroom with lampworking (a process of melting glass into beads). Ms. Olsen tells the students, "Keep spinning the glass because grivity doesn't like you!"
Olsen learned about lampworking in a summer class with Ms. Miller. "Ms. Miller is my favorite teacher. This place is like my second home."
The lamp-working class was made possible by a grant from the District 99 Education Foundation. Ms. Miller notes, "We couldn't do it without the grant for supplies."
You too can become a Volunteer Graduate of D99!