Local School Update- April 2022 

By Tina Jenkins 
BAPA School Liaison   

Okay, one of these days, I will be able to start a column without mention of a pandemic. And I only mention the “P” word to remind us of how wonderfully resilient and our schools are. My examples this month range from sports to a school’s initiative to teach their students mindfulness and gratefulness, to some really exciting positive community-school partnerships and dynamics.  

MPHS Flips the Switch to Win Chicago Public League City Title! 

The Morgan Park High School Boys’ Bowling League flipped the switch by beating Lane Tech High School to win the Chicago Public League City Title for the 2021-2022 school year. Coach Alanza Townsend said the win was special because MPHS lost the same title to Lane Tech by only 17 pins in the last school year; this year MPHS won by 182 pins. MPHS winning bowling team consisted of four sophomores, Judah Nelson, Zazari Martin, King Simmons, and Daveon Bickcom; one junior Brandon Lott; and three seniors, Omari Knight, Jacobi Martin, and Trayvon Laury.  

According to Coach Townsend, other things that made this win extra special are that the team was able to play a full season, compared to only 45% of the last year’s season during the pandemic, and the seniors could play a full season because they had worked hard to do so. MPHS prevailed over teams from Chicago Ag, Kennedy, Sarah Good, Whitney Young, Taft, North College Prep, and Lane Tech high schools.  

March into Mindfulness at Clissold Elementary School 

According to Clissold School counselor Mary Cira, March into Mindfulness was a month-long practice in mindfulness and gratitude. Students were given a calendar with links to daily mindfulness exercises and a journal to reflect on the things for which they were grateful. 

To help kickoff the challenge, Jeremy Walton, a mindful performance coach and creator of the Walton Method met with students to reinforce the benefits of mindfulness, such as stress relief, improved sleep and mental and physical health. Mindfulness stations were set up in comfortable spaces, such as coloring stations in the hallway or classroom Calm Corner baskets, designed to help students understand when they need a break and practice useful ploys for feeling better. 

The program also used educational videos to help students address bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide, and to embrace positive change. This curriculum was supplemented by a visit from Detective Bailey, of the Special Victims Unit of the Chicago Police Department who shared critical information with parents during a virtual presentation. Clissold was one of ten schools chosen to participate in the “Change Starts with Me” bully/cyberbully/suicide awareness program created by the Megan Meier Foundation.   

Sutherland Fights Hunger 

Sutherland students are collecting for the free food pantry box at Edna White Garden. The box is maintained by Turpin Cares, the organization that also operates the twice a month free store for toiletries at Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, and offers starter kits for people transitioning into homes. Want to help?  Contact Principal Margaret Burns, mmburns@cps.edu.  

Burn Books? Not On Our Watch! 

The Jews of Beverly, Bookies Bookstore, and 19th Ward Mutual Aid have taken a stand against book banning in a campaign designed to purchase the book “Maus,” by Art Spiegelman and donate five copies to each school in the Beverly/Morgan Park community. “Maus” is the only Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel. It depicts the experiences of Spiegelman’s father as a Polish Jew in the Nazi concentration camps.  

Explains Tim Noonan in a letter to area principals, “Jews are presented as mice, while Germans are cats. Books such as Maus, Night, and other first-person accounts of the Holocaust are jarring in their description of man’s treatment of his fellow man. This is why we have chosen middle schools and high schools to be the recipients of these books, which Common Sense Media recommends for ages 13-19.” 

Teen Corps Meet and Green 

If you have a teen, ages 14-18, at home and in need of community service points or positive interactions with other teens, convince them to attend the Teen Corps Meet and Greet, Sat., Apr. 2, 5 to 7 p.m., at BAPA, 1744 W. 99th St. There will be pizza. Contact me for more details, tbell@bapa.org 

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