October Cadets of the Month
Congratulations to our October cadets of the month!
On Thursday, October 5th, we had our second visit with the Academy’s emotional support dog, Tucker. So far, he has visited all of the fourth grade classes. The cadets had the opportunity to either read aloud to Tucker in small groups or listen to a story while having their turn for his visit. The academic focus the cadets demonstrated during their visiting time was impressive. The cadets were able to correctly answer a variety of comprehension questions based on the reading while at the same time taking turns petting Tucker. As you can see from the picture, Tucker was also enjoying reading with the cadets. In the next few weeks, fifth grade will have their turn, and that should be just as successful!
Administration and staff at AJK nominated two individuals from who represented the best overall character at the Academy in the Lake County Excellence in Character Program. 3rd grade teacher, Mr. James Truelove was nominated as he has truly inspired his team of teachers and our cadets around what it takes to be successful here at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy. His willingness to model our Roadmap to Knighthood initiative every day and lead his cadets on an educational journey that is creative, inspiring, and personal is the exact branding that we want our staff to be known for here at AJKA. James is also known for his masterful musical talent and a green cape he wears every day to help him fly around his classroom as he is a true superhero to the Academy.
Elite Sentinel Byron Craig is an amazing cadet. He works hard in his classrooms academically but what’s more amazing is his ability to be a leader. Each day he arrives at the Academy with a positive attitude and the motivation to not only exceed beyond his own goals, but to also encourage and support the success of his peers. In the classroom, he consistently sets and example by achieving high expectations for himself and striving to be the best all around cadet he can be. The Academy is honored to have these two leaders on their team!
Over the last couple of weeks AJKA asked all cadets to bring their spare change in to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and our teacher Mrs. Irene Ducharme. St. Baldrick’s is a not for profit organization that raises money to help find a cure for childhood cancer. For the last few years, Mrs. Ducharme has supported this foundation by collecting donations and being a part of the head shaving event that takes place every year. The reason that people shave their head is to show empathy towards those affected by childhood cancer. This year, cadets at the academy worked extensively on empathy and “walking in someone else’s shoes,” so when Mrs. Ducharme brought the challenge of raising money to our cadets, they jumped on it immediately. In a short two weeks, the Academy raised over 500 dollars to support Mrs. Ducharme’s cancer fighting team. The class that raised the most money was given the privilege of signing Mrs. D’s head during morning meeting. It is moments like this that make the Academy a proud place to be.
AJK participated in the ISLMA (Illinois School Library Media Association) Bluestem Award book program with 4th and 5thgraders. The Bluestem Award is designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles. Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award includes classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists.
The Bluestem award program is a list of 20 books. Students who participate must read or have read to them at least 4 of the 20 nominated books. Student then vote for their favorite book. The title with the most votes becomes the Bluestem award for the year.
This year the winning book was EL Deafo by Cee Bell with 4704 votes. There were 342 schools in Illinois that participated in the program, casting 27885 votes. At AJKA 179 cadets participated and voted.
Lizbeth Garcia was the only cadet to read all 20 books. And take a AR quiz passing with a score of 90-100%.
February 19, 2017, marked the 31st Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), hosted at Lake Forest College (LFC). In celebration of NGWSD, the sports teams at LFC invite elementary and middle school students from around the area to campus to partake in a variety of athletic activities. North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP) brought 25 3-5 grade young ladies from AJK and Yeager to engage in the fun! Participants were led by LFC students to practice skills related to soccer, volleyball, cross country, cheer, softball, basketball and tennis. North Chicago students also had the opportunity to receive guidance from current LFC student-athletes on how to perfect their athletic skillset and develop healthy habits outside of sports.
On Monday December 19th Marine Mentors were invited to an awards ceremony at A.J. Kazenmaier to celebrate the roles they voluntarily take on as mentors here at The Academy. For the past three months, Marines from the USMC 3rd CAG and MACG 48 of Great Lakes have taken on this monumental task in an effort to support the building’s R.R.C.C. initiative that began three years ago. “Yesterday was all about the Marines and their service to our academy,” says Principal Grenda.
“Our cadets are so fortunate to have such great men and women who want to be a part of their lives.”
The awards ceremony was just a little token of appreciation to our Marines. Each Marine was awarded a challenge coin (hand crafted by parent, Chrissy Nieves) from Mr. Grenda and a shadowbox created by the cadets here at AJK that signified the appreciation and importance of each Marine.
Some Quotes from our Cadets
“The best thing about my Marine is he makes me feel safe”
“The best part of having a Marine is that he is the best thing that ever happened to me ”
“The best part of having a mentor is you have someone to share your feelings with and to help you make better decisions. P.S. I feel awesome!”
Cadets and staff at The Academy have spent the month of December learning about and working on empathy as part of our A Mindset for Learning book study.
The book, written by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz explores how we can teach the habits of mind needed for academic success. Drawing on the works of Carol Dweck, Art Costa, and others, the authors show us how to lead cadets to a growth mindset for academy, and life, by focusing on 5 crucial research-driven attitudes: Optimism, Persistence, Flexibility, Resilience, and Empathy.
Last week’s work around empathy resulted in a classroom door contest where teachers and cadets were asked to decorate their doors the best they could with the theme of empathy in mind. The judges were made up of cadets and staff from Our House and the results were amazing. Not only did we dress up The Academy but we all have a better understanding of what it means to be empathetic towards others.