D211 Post: Hoffman Estates Students Get Inside Look at City Government

Hoffman Estates Village Manager James Norris discusses the village’s structure of government to students from Hoffman Estates High School.

            Students in Hoffman Estates High School’s Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics and Introduction to Government classes received an inside look at the various operations within Hoffman Estates’ village government during a trip to the village hall Nov. 29.

            Hoffman Estates High School Government teacher Kim Ryon said the visit was the second of a three sessions designed to expose students to the breadth of local government functions.  The first session involved Village Manager Jim Norris speaking with the students at the school.  During the second session, students heard from heads of various village board and agency heads including the department of public works, the assistant police and fire chiefs. 

Hoffman Estates Police Department Assistant Chief Gregory Poulos discusses the various responsibilities within his department to a group of HEHS students.

            “We want students to know that government is more than a police officer pulling you over, or passing a Constitution test to graduate,” Ryon said.  “We believe it is important for students to feel connected to their community, and learning about the services the Village provides as well as the day to day efforts of all employed by the village is a way to foster that connection.”

            Senior Annabella Passeri said she was surprised by the complexity and diverse overall involvement of each of the emergency agencies. 

            “Before today, I didn’t realize how involved all the emergency services were,” she said.  “I really enjoyed learning about all the aspects of police work within the village.”

Hoffman Estates High School senior Anabella Passeri takes notes about the village government operations during a visit to the Hoffman Estates Village Hall Nov. 29.

            Ryon said the village was eager with working with her to create the “Village Government Experience,” lessons.

            “Our students were appreciative, engaged and curious,” Ryon said.  “It was also great for the kids to see how many different jobs a village requires to function, and how you don’t necessarily have to have a political science degree to play a role in local government.”

            The final session is tentatively scheduled for the spring and will focus on taxation and finance.   

D211 Post: Anzalone New Head of Hawks Boys Track

HEHS Math Teacher Vito Anzalone has been named the boys track head coach.

Vito Anzalone has been named head boys track and field coach at Hoffman Estates High School.  Anzalone takes over the program from Tyrone Jones, who stepped down earlier this year after 11 seasons as the Hawks head coach.

“While we are sad to see Coach Jones step down, we are proud to see Coach Anzalone move into a more prominent roll with the team,” said Hoffman Estates High School Principal Josh Schumacher.  “Vito’s connection with our student-athletes will be beneficial in their continued growth and development, and we’re excited to hand him the reins of the program.”

Anzalone spent last year as the assistant varsity coach for boys track, as well as the assistant coach for boys cross country team.  Prior to joining HEHS, Anzalone volunteered for various coaching duties at Wheeling High School.  In his past two seasons with the Hawks, he assisted in leading the team to MSL indoor and outdoor championships, two sectional appearances, and two state championship appearances.  As a student-athlete at Prospect High School, Anzalone made three state appearances and set two school records in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.

“Vito was very involved in the success our Hawks runners have had the past couple of years,” said Hoffman Estates High School Athletic Director Steve Lacni.  “We are looking forward to continued success with him taking over the head coaching job.”

Anzalone graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2016 with a bachelors of science degree in Mathematics with a teaching option. He joined the mathematics department at Hoffman Estates High School in August 2016.

D211 Post: Hawks have new head baseball coach

Andrew Wulbecker has been named as the HEHS head baseball coach.

Andrew Wulbecker has been named head baseball coach at Hoffman Estates High School.  Wulbecker takes over the program from Chuck Abbot, who stepped down earlier this year after two years as the Hawks head coach.

“We are excited to see Andrew take the reins of the very team he played for as a student-athlete,” said Hoffman Estates High School Principal Josh Schumacher.  “Andrew already has a well established rapport with our Hawks athletes and is a great fit to lead our program.”

Wulbecker has worked at Hoffman Estates High School since 2016, serving as a Title 1 Attendance Interventionist.  He spent the past season as the baseball team’s assistant coach and also worked as an assistant football coach with the varsity program.  As a student at Hoffman Estates High School, he earned the baseball program’s MVP for the 2002 season.

“Having Coach Wulbecker lead the program he excelled at as a player adds new dimension to the team” said Hoffman Estates High School Athletic Director Steve Lacni.  “His perspective from both sides of our baseball program will help him build strong connections with our student-athletes.”

Wulbecker earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from North Central College in 2013.  In addition to playing four years of baseball at Hoffman Estates High School Wulbecker also played baseball for both Harper College and North Central College.

D211 Post: District Students Compete in Architecture and Design Competition

            Students from across the District competed against each other in the District 211 Architecture Competition in which they designed an ideal and functional house.  Each entry had to include four bedrooms and two and half bathrooms while being up to 3,500 square feet.  The winning entry, submitted by Palatine High School senior Nelson Bartolo, will be the Building Construction Program house to be built on Berner Road in Elgin next year.

            Work began on each student’s design at the start of the school year.  More than 350 students in participated in designing homes and submitted entries to the competition.  From those, ten entries, 2 from each school, were selected to present to a panel of judges at the G.A. McElroy Administration Center November 9.

            “Students house designs were amazing.  It was obvious that all of the D211 students took their time and did the proper research to create house designs that were appropriate tor the location,” said Palatine High School Applied Science Department Chair Mark Hibner.  “Students followed the guidelines of the project and designed homes that included appropriate construction methods while infusing current interior design trends.”

Palatine High School senior Audrey Birk describes the the plans for a house she designed during a District wide drafting and architecture competition Nov. 9.

            During the finals, each of the ten students stood before a panel of judges which included architects, interior designers, teachers, and contractors.  The student discussed the layout of each room as well as inspirations for various aspects of their unique designs.  For Bartolo, part of the preparation was practicing his presentation repeatedly at home.

            After each student presented their designs to the panel, the judges moved into deliberation to discuss all the designs.  One judge, Mike Rafferty of Rafferty Architecture, has been involved with previous 3 competitions and has seen improvement in the students’ plans.

            “Every year the presentations get better.  The technology and support from their teachers really help prepare them and make them better,” he said.  “I was very impressed by the underclassman representation.  Their involvement in things like this will give them a great opportunity to witness fields like architecture and construction.”

            Following the panel’s deliberation, each student called up to discuss what was liked as well as potential improvements for future designs.  They were then presented with framed copies of their designs. 

Palatine High School senior Nelson Bartolo (center left) holds his design concept.

            The judges stated following their deliberation that selecting an individual winner was difficult given the exceptional effort and design each student presented.  They stated the decision was made to select a first and second place for the first time.  They announced Palatine High School senior Audrey Birk as second place before announcing Batolo as the winner.

            Bartolo, who has been involved in Computer Drafting courses since his freshman year said he was surprised and appreciative after the announcement.

            “It just shows that hard work really does pay off,” Bartolo said.  “I am thankful to my school for the opportunity to compete in something like this and to my teachers for their amazing support.”

D211 Post: Best Selling Author Visits District 211 Schools

            Sandhya Menon, author of the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi spent two days meeting with students from James B. Conant and Hoffman Estates High School.  Her visit to Conant coincided with the school’s first Author Day.  During her visit to Hoffman Estates, she met with students in English Teacher Britany Westby’s creative writing class.

            At Hoffman Estates, Menon told students they should never be afraid of rejection.  She recounted the story of author Stephen King’s multiple rejection letters and told the students of the many times she had doubts in her own writing.

Sandhya Menon, author of the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, speaks with students at Hoffman Estates High School Oct. 26.

            “Every writer has one thing in common,” she told the students.  “All of them have dealt with failure. Failure isn’t a permanent state unless you take no for an answer.”

            She told the students about her early days of writing and obstacles that she overcame to get where she is now.  Following her stories, she took questions from the students.  Student questions ranged from where she gets the inspiration for her characters to the environment she prefers when she writes and how she develops plot and character aspects.

Author Sandhya Menon signs a copy of her book “When Dimple Met Rishi,” for Hoffman Estates High School senior Michaela Elkins during a visit to the school Oct. 26.

            Menon said she was amazed by the questions the students approached her with.

            “I was completely blown away by the talent and insightful questions I got,” she said.  “They were more insightful than a lot of adults I have met.”

            Menon’s visit to Hoffman Estates was arranged through Media Center Department chair Terri Berkowitz in conjunction with the Schaumburg Township Library.

            Westby felt students hearing about Menon’s background and realistic views were beneficial.

            “I love that she is both a therapist and a writer,” Westby said.  “She was very realistic in her career ambitions; she was quite honest about the length of time it took her to earn her bachelor’s degree.  Everything was absolutely vital for my students to hear.”

D211 Post: District Schools to Hold Halloween Activities for Children

            Three District 211 school’s will be hosting community Halloween events in the coming days.  William Fremd, Palatine and Hoffman Estates High Schools will open their doors to children and parents with events ranging from trick-or-treating to games and more.


           William Fremd High School will be holding their annual Halloween Fest on October 24 from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  The event is open to students 12 years and under with accompanying adults.  During the fest participants can trick-or-treat through the halls as well as play a variety of games.  FHS is a proud supporter of the Teal Pumpkin and will have allergy-friendly prizes for all children.  Those attending are asked to enter through the school’s main entrance.  Fremd’s student council will be trick-or-treating for non-perishable items for the Palatine Township Food Pantry.  For a list of needed items click here.

            On October 25, Palatine High School will hold its 24th annual Trick-or-Treat with Pirate Pete from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.  The festivities are open to children 10 and under with an adult.  The event was started at Palatine by retiring principal Gary Steiger and has grown to include an inflatable corn maze, a pirate ship moon jump, petting zoo, and both “scary” and “not scary” decorated rooms for the children to tour.  More than 32 student groups, as well as community organizations will participate to, or have made donations to the event.  For more information on Trick or Treat with Pirate Pete click here.

            Finally, October 30, Hoffman Estates High School will hold its 21st annual Halloween Event from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  The night will include games, not-so-scary haunted rooms, crafts, trick-or-treating and treats created by the school’s Family and Consumer Science Department.  The event is open to students from 10 years old to pre-school with accompanying adults.  With more than 22 clubs and activities participating, the event offers something for everyone and has expanded beyond the first floor of the school to include the gym shelf.  For more information on HEHS’s Halloween Event contact FCS Department Chair Jessica Ecker at 847-755-5301.

D211 Post: HEHS To Hold 9th Annual Cupcakes with Friends

            Hoffman Estates High School’s Special Education Department will hold their 9th annual Cupcakes with Friends October 27 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Entry for the event is free and open to the public.

            During the day, cupcakes will be available for sale at a cost of $2 each or $20 per dozen.  The proceeds from the event will be used for HEHS Special Education programs including Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and Hawkettes Cheer Team among others.  For kids, the event offers face and nail painting, crafts, and cupcake decorating.

            Area bakers who want to donate cupcakes or wish to enter the cupcake contest can do so through the event’s website www.hehscupcakes.weebly.com.  Registry is open through October 15.