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Ron Port

Marines Mentor Cadets at The Academy

The USMC, Third Civil Affairs Group visited the Academy in their Dress Blues for a mentoring session with AJK cadets. Our goal is to have positive role models that share similar values. The Marines spoke to the children about the importance of always being prepared. They connected AJK’s RRCC:

Respect for self and others
Responsible for all actions
Commitment to education
Commitment to community

with the core values of the Marines Corps, which is Honor, Courage and Commitment. Mentors expressed that these core values define how every Marine in the Corps thinks, acts and does their job. The shared with the cadets, this is exactly what RRCC does for cadets at the Academy.

“In our fourth year of partnership with these fine men and women, our cadets are starting to realize the purpose around our core values and how important it is to live up to a standard of high expectations,” said Principal, Mike Grenda. “We will continue our partnership with this elite group of Marines with our mission always at the forefront of our minds… A.J. Katzenmaier Academy, Meeting cadets where they are and advancing them forward.”

Local Marines Deliver Smiles to the Academy

The holiday season got a little brighter for cadets at the Academy when they received gifts from Toys for Tots. Local Marines delivered hundreds of donated toys to the students in North Chicago School District 187 including cadets at AJ Katzenmaier Academy. The Toys for Tots program has a long standing partnership with the North Chicago schools and other local communities. Marines stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes, along with staff from AJK, unloaded, setup and pass out toys to students of the Academy. Students were excited to meet and receive toys from members of the Marines.

Special thanks the the Marine Corp and the Toys for Tots program!

The Academy Observes Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week takes place every year on October 23-31. The cadets at the Academy took the pledge to be drug free in a special way this year. Young Marine/Master Gunnery Sergeant and former cadet of AJK Academy, Nina Staben, visited with an informative presentation about Red Ribbon Week.  In her program, Staben spoke to the cadets about the history of Red Ribbon Week, why we wear red ribbons and what children can do to live a drug free life.

Thank you Master Gunnery Sergeant Nina Staben!

AJK Observes National Bullying Prevention Month

Every October, schools throughout the country observe National Bullying Prevention Month. The objective is to encourage schools and communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying.

To observe National Bullying Prevention Month, the Academy welcomed some very special friends from Medieval Times. They spoke about the Code of Chivalry. A set of rules, created 1000 years ago, to govern the conduct of the noble class. To impart fairness, respect, compassion and understanding to all citizens. Cadets took an oath to confront wrong doings, to show fairness to all, accept each other as they are and pledged to be honest.

Click here for more information about the stop bullying campaign.

R.R.C.C. September Dance!

The Academy hosted its first R.R.C.C. dance for the 2019-2020 school year. One of our main priorities here is to create a positive learning environment. 

Our core values are represented in R.R.C.C.

Respect for Self and Others
Responsible for All Our Actions
Commitment to Education
Commitment to Community

Students enter into A.J.K. Academy as Cadets.  Each quarter, the Cadets strive to become the next rank on the Road to Knighthood.  Students can move up in rank by meeting academic, attendance, and behavioral goals. Special privileges are earned with each move up in rank.

After the end of the first quarter, in order to make rank and become a Squire,  cadets must have maintained a 95% attendance rate, keep a C average or better, and not received more than 3 behavioral referrals in our first 9 weeks. It is also mandatory to speak to adults and peers in a respectful manner and one of our ways for implementing this respect for self and others is by using Sir and Ma’am with adults and referring to our fellow classmates by their name. 

Cadets who demonstrate positive behaviors as well as maintain at least a C average, will be invited to attend the Academy’s monthly dances. We look forward to our October dance!

AJK Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The Academy celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with some very special performances.  Choreographed and directed by Candace Ferguson, Linda Juarez and Dr. Stacy Thomas, students sang traditional hispanic songs, read poetry from hispanic poets and danced to celebrate spanish heritage.

If you missed the performances… you can see them on the attached video!

Did you know...

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.

-Information provided by the U.S. Department of Education


Students and staff from AJK Academy, Alexander Elementary, Neal Math and Science Academy and North Chicago High School met before school to walk with a cop to school. As part of a community-engagement project, this event helps build relationships between the police department and the community.


This week, the North Chicago Fire Department talked to the cadets about fire prevention/safety.

Did you know… Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 fire that left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.

Click here to learn about fire prevention week

Open House at the Academy

On Thursday, September 19th, AJ Katzenmaier Academy and the North Chicago Community Partners hosted its annual open house/carnival. After a short visit with teachers in their classrooms, students and parents were treated to activities including: carnival games, face painting, a picture booth, a jumpy house and dinner. Academy teachers, staff and members of the North Chicago Community Partners were running activities and visiting with the cadets and their families!

Thanks to all who attended!

Discover Day of Service

On Friday, September 13th,  4th grade cadets from the Academy had the opportunity to participate in some hands-on S.T.E.M. activities, during the Discover Day of Service. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Cadets were fortunate to have volunteers from Discover join us for a day of fun and learning. They learned about chemical reactions, blew bubbles inside another bubble and experimented with Pop Rocks and how the unique makeup of this candy can be combined with soda to blow up a balloon. At the end of the day, cadets were given a bag with more S.T.E.M. activities that they could do at home. Thank you Discover for your time and a great day of learning!

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