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Ron Port

A Tribute to Mrs. Sanders

AJK Academy’s latest fine arts project is a tribute to their late Assistant Principal and friend Mrs. Louise Sanders. Inspired by glass artist Dale Chihuly, 5th grade art students who knew her best, created a vibrant mobile constructed of water bottles. The cascading bottles, with shades of blue, symbolize colorectal cancer awareness. This beautiful piece of art was engineered and installed by AJK Academy’s art teacher, Stacy Thomas and the AJKA Art Club.

Art Gallery Debut

Representatives of the “D187 Off the ChARTs” movement and AJKA Art Club members had the esteemed honor of debuting their artwork at Urban Edge Art Gallery in Waukegan, IL.

Kimmya Edwards, Andrea Alvarez, Mary Lee Brewton and Ashley Aguilar were among some of the other talented hands of designers from A.J. Katzenmaier Academy and other elementary students throughout the district.

The showing took place on December 1st at a World Aids Day event chaired by Alexian Brothers – The Harbor and supported by other community partners.

Our most valued accomplishment, “Blue Louise”, made its first public appearance at the event. From there it will be included in future presentations before it’s housed in the lobby of A.J. Katzenmaier Academy.

Cadet Wins Big!

The Academy would like to congratulate fourth grader Cadet Quetzaly Astudillo as the winner of our Ghost writing assignment! After finishing a whole school read on Jason Reynold’s chapter book Ghost, cadets were asked to write their own ending as the book ended abruptly with the start of the race and didn’t let the readers know what happened at the end. Cadets were given the last paragraph of the book and they were tasked with writing what they thought would happen next. Cadet Quetzaly wrote the following:
“And the contestants sprinted towards the finish line as if their life depended on it. On the far left was Ghost, who had a fierce concentration unmatched by the others. He started off strong with the lead and felt as though he was unstoppable. Then, out of nowhere, he felt the rough edge of what felt seemed like the largest pebble in the universe. In what seemed like slow motion, Ghost landed on the ground and watched as Brandon sprinted right by him. In that moment, Ghost had two options. He could either stay down and accept failure or get back up and not give up without a fight. He couldn’t stand the thought of not giving it his all. He knew he would rather lose the race giving it his all than not trying at all. Ghost got up and ran like he never ran before. He could hear the cheers coming from the crowd. He took the final steps to the finish line and it was all over. Brandon had won the race but that was okay because Ghost knew he was still a winner. He never gave up.”
I have just one word… AMAZING

Walk a Cop to School

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.

Read more about Walk a Cop to School in the Lake County News-Sun

Marine Mentors at The Academy

The USMC, Third Civil Affairs Group showed up to AJKA in their Dress Blues for Morning Meeting last week. As our goal of Morning Meeting is to coach kids up and get them prepared for the day, 3rd CAG’s leader Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Conant asked if he could bring his Marines to Morning Meeting to discuss the importance of always being prepared. He spoke to our cadets regarding our RRCC motto and core values and connected it to the core values of the Marines Corps which is Honor, Courage and Commitment. As he stated that these core values define how every Marine in the Corps thinks, acts and does their job, he reminded the cadets sitting before him that this is exactly what RRCC does for cadets at the Academy.
“In our second 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.”

The Academy Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month is a special time for reflecting and celebrating.  On Wednesday, February 28, 2018 the Academy reflected on and celebrated the contributions of African-Americans that have taught us all to rise above those things that attempt to hold us down. The Academy’s Black History Program, Rise: A Tribute to African-American Heritage included poetry, dancing, and singing highlighting these contributions. The Rise! Dance Team, AJKA Cadet Chorus and Drummers gave us a show to remember and reminded us to celebrate our diversity all year long.

Cadets Celebrate Black History Month

Mr. Kisley’s 5th grade class along with teacher paraprofessional, Ms. Rosy Gallegos, built a beautiful Black history display that embedded the American Flag as the background. Each of the eighteen cadets in the classroom chose an individual that they felt has impacted our American culture in some way, shape or form. Cadets chose a wide variety of influential individuals such as the Obama family, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Ice Cube, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Nelson Mandela. It is just awesome to see what these cadets can come up with when they put their mind to it. Way to go Mr. K’s class!!!!! You Rock!!!!

Celebrating Sentinels

On Monday, February 12th, we celebrated the 127 cadets that met their 2nd quarter goals and ranked up to Sentinel.  The new Sentinels celebrated with a pizza party and free-time.  Our future Knights and Dames are surely on “The Road to Knighthood”.

After-School Activities

Each Monday and Friday, cadets at the Academy stay after-school to participate in various intramural sports. Coach Eck and Coach Harris spend time teaching cadets the rules of the sports, as well as instilling the values of teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Mondays, the AJK Choir meets with Mrs. Ferguson and Ms. Thomas. The choir is practicing for our upcoming Black History Program, Rise, on February 28, 2018.  They will continue to meet to prepare for the Academy’s Spring Musical.

The Academy’s Dance Team meets each Friday for practice. Ms. Juarez is the dance coach and she will have all those who made the team “Dancing to the Beat “in no time.  Keep an eye out for performance dates.

All participants in after-school activities should be on track with rank, which is currently Sentinel.

Girls on the Run

The Academy will be kicking off another after-school activity, on March 12th: Girls on the Run. For 10 weeks, girls will learn life skills through lessons and running games. The lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development.  Physical activity is woven throughout to develop an appreciation of health and habits that lead to a lifetime of good health. At the end of the session, the girls will participate in a non-competitive 5-K run. We are looking forward to our young ladies developing an understanding of the confidence that comes from setting and achieving life goals.

Girls can begin registering now online at or via the bi-lingual (English and Spanish) call center at (312) 313-0280 open Monday – Friday 9am-6pm.

$20 per girl

5K run is June 2nd in Grayslake, at CLC.

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