D211 Post: Fremd Holds 24th Annual Writers Week

Senior Adam Kemp recites an original piece during Fremd High School’s Writers Week.

             William Fremd High School held its 24th annual Writers Week from Feb. 5 -9.  The week-long event showcased both student and professional writers, and included a mix of readings and discussion.

            “Writers Week creates a sense of community through storytelling as students begin to identify as literary citizens alongside professional writers,” said Fremd English teacher Gina Enk. 

            During this year’s event, 96 students read a variety of original works which focused on anything from fictional short stories to tales of personal trials and exploration.

            Junior Caitlin Peterson presented a story about her cousin who was paralyzed after a snowmobile accident and has worked to become independent again.  She said her message was that people should never take advantage of what they have.

            “I felt very opinionated on this topic,” Peterson said.  “I felt a lot more people needed to know about this, not just my friends.”

            Peterson felt Writers Week was the perfect time to tell her story.

Junior Caitlin Peterson reads an original composition during Fremd High School’s writers week.

            “This is the perfect opportunity because so many people come to watch and listen during Writers Week,” she said.

            Among the group of professional writers who spoke with the students were Andrew Huff and Eden Robins who host Tuesday Funk, an eclectic Chicago reading series.  Robins, who is also a Fremd graduate, said she was honored to be a part of something she saw in its early stages when she was a student.  She recalled seeing writer Gwendolyn Brooks speak at the event when she was a student.

            “It’s really exciting to be on stage here,” Robins said.  “It’s really cool to be up here, and remember what it was like to be out there.  I’m both really excited and nervous.”

Eden Robins and Andrew Huff, hosts of Tuesday Funk, talk about their work with students at Fremd High School during the 24th annual Writers Week.

            Huff said he was impressed by Fremd’s annual event. 

            “I went to Barrington High School, and I wish there was something like this there,” he said.  “I think it’s a testament to the investment that Fremd has made in its students that has lasted this long and can draw such incredible talent.”

            “The fact that this has been going on for more than 20 years is really heartwarming and incredible to me,” Robins added.

            Enk said she would encourage any student considering participation in future Writers Weeks to do so.

            “In 24 years, we have never had a student who is sorry that they have chosen to share their writing,” she said.   “Our audiences are attentive and rooting for you to do well.  Submit your writing!”

D211 Post: Fremd Teacher Receives University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award


           Martin Zacharia, an advance placement history teacher at William Fremd High School, has received the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award.  Zacharia was nominated by a former student who now attends the university.

            Zacharia said he was humbled by receiving the award.

            “I was just really touched that Mingda took the time to nominate me,” said Zacharia.

            The award recognizes teachers who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to the educational and personal development of their students.

            Zacharia was nominated by Fremd alumnus Mingda Zhang who said he had matured under the guidance of Zacharia.

            “Without you, UChicago would have just been an outlandish dream,” Zhang said in the nomination letter.

Martin Zacharia, an advanced placement U.S. History teacher at William Fremd High School, discusses a reading on the gilded age during one of his classes.

            Zacharia, who also serves as dean of students and the debate team coach, said he was inspired to become a teacher because of his experience high school.

            “I became a teacher because of some great teachers at Maine East who were challenging and helped us grow in a way that surprised me,” he said.  “The teachers were fundamentally caring and were always there to help.”

            He added that he tries to create the same environment in his own classroom.

            “I hope the class is challenging,” Zacharia said.  “I want students to grow over the course of the year, but I also want them to have a connection to the class.”

D211 Post: Mark Your Calendars: Schools to Host Community Halloween Activities

Schools throughout District 211 are planning their annual community Halloween activities. 

            The festivities begin on Oct. 24, when the Higgins Education Center will host a “Trunk or Treat,” from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The community is invited to enjoy treats, activities and learn about various programs and services offered by Partners for Our Community.

Fremd High School’s Student Council will host its annual Halloween Festival at the school Wednesday Oct. 26, from 4:30-6:00 p.m.  Students invite children 12 and under to trick-or-treat through the transformed halls.  Fremd High School participates in the Teal Pumpkin project which offers non-food prizes for trick-or-treaters with food allergies. 

            Those wishing to attend the event are asked to bring a canned food item to donate in lieu of an admission fee.  All food collected will be donated to the Palatine Township Food Pantry.  Attendees should enter the school through the main entrance by the flagpole. 

            The following evening Hoffman Estates High School will be hosting a community Halloween event.  During the event, children can trick-or-treat through the halls, tour a not-so-spooky haunted house, play games, and create crafts.  This event is open to children from pre-school through 10 years of age.  Due to expected crowds, the school asks parents to leave strollers in their vehicles. 

            That same evening, Palatine High School will be hosting their Trick-or-Treat Festival from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.  Clubs and organizations from the school will decorate the halls and provide scary and not-so-scary rooms, as well as games and activities.  Palatine’s festival is open to children 10 and under.

D211 Post: Slideshow-Work Continues on Fremd Media Center

The updated media center is expected to open early November 2017


High School District 211 announces that 31 students have been named semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Semifinalists are selected based on scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (P.S.A.T./N.M.S.Q.T.).

William Fremd High School students Abhinav R. Balu, Kevin Chen, Varun Cidambi, Bissmun Gill, Matthew C. Grabianski, Kailey G. Henson, Stephanie X. Hu, Jesse Huang, Kashif Javid, Edward W. Li, Anna J. Miller, Allison M. Nakazawa, Adhith Palla, Nicholas L. Parekh, Elizabeth D. Perez, Andrew L. Ruan, Lauren P. Streitmatter, and Jerry Zheng have been named semifinalists.

Anubhav Agarwal, Adithya S. Chari, Annika K. Lafyatis, Bianca Saputra, Nitinshankar Subramanian, Sarah R. Yamaguchi, and Allison L. Zhang from James B. Conant High School have been named semifinalists.

The semifinalists from Hoffman Estates High School are Ryohei Namiki, Megha Ramanathan, and Shashank Sandu.

Schaumburg High School’s semifinalists are Lisa N. Bonatz and Edwin J. Suresh.

Bhargav Yadavalli is the semifinalist from Palatine High School.

For more information, see the release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

FHS Featured in ‘EdTech Magazine’ For Helping Students Use Tech to Advance

Fremd High School was recently featured in EdTech Magazine. The article explores how innovative technology is helping students become career ready. Read an excerpt below:

In the past, students in Steve Elza’s automotive classes at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., had to take turns using a diagnostic scanning tool that cost the school up to $8,000. Today, the teens use an inexpensive device that connects via Bluetooth to the ­tablets they all carry.

“Today’s cars have 100 or more computers in them,” says Elza. “We have to have computers to work on them.” That’s just one of the ways technology is transforming automotive education at Fremd.

When the district deployed tablets, students in career and technical tracks were among the most enthusiastic adopters, says Fremd’s Technology Coordinator Keith Sorensen.

“Devices changed the automotive program the most,” he says. “Students film or take photos each step of the way. They are really good at documenting their work and explaining it.”

Elza, who also coaches the school’s Hot Rodders of Tomorrow team and was named the 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year, says all the software the students use is online.

“When they look up a torque spec for a brake system, they use our online software and find that information right on their tablets,” he says. “They also use computers to do 3D modeling of parts.”

In addition to automotive classes, Fremd offers students the chance to learn about building construction, engineering, electronics and woodworking. This sort of applied technology instruction was once called “vocational,” and it was seen by many as a place to put students with limited academic skills.

But today, career and technical education programs prepare students for both college and the workplace. (Some of Elza’s students go to $18-an-hour jobs after graduation, while others pursue four-year degrees.) And, as many of these career paths become more technical in nature, school districts are investing in technology to help their students keep pace with career demands.

To read the full article, click here: https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/07/career-focused-schools-use-technology-help-students-advance

Photos: Update on FHS Athletic Field Construction

Work is underway on FHS’ athletic fields to help with drainage. This is the first phase of the athletic field renovations and the drainage project is nearing completion. View some of the photos below: