Community Pulse: ‘From the classroom to the field of competition’

Christopher T. Spencer

The 2022 -23 school year continues to be one of excellence and excitement for Coal City Unit School District 1 students and staff. From the classroom to the field of competition, to preparing for the next school year.

Principal Jen Kenney announced that 20 students from Coal City High School were named Illinois State Scholars. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state’s college access and financial aid agency presents this recognition of academic achievement to Illinois high school students annually. Each State Scholar receives a congratulatory letter and a Certificate of Achievement from ISAC. We are proud of the efforts of these 20 students: Natalie Appleton, Gavin Chernesky, Lucas Crater, Collin Dames, Brady Ehman, Declan Harrington, Logan Hawkins, Luke Hawkins, Joseph Hutchings, Brecken Johnson, Isabelle Kostbade, Heather Kroeger, Azra Malovski, Kaelan Natyshok, Ryne Phelan, Jacob Piatak, Mia Ratajczak, Joshua Ritchie, Jackson Wilcock and Braiden Young.

The high school was represented at the IHSA State Speech Tournament by two students. Freshman Jacob Cimino and senior Izzy Kostbade made it to state, Kostbade for the third time in her high school career. Cimino was one of only two freshmen at the State Speech Tournament.

The Coaler wrestlers ended February by celebrating an IHSA Class 1A team State Championship! On Feb. 25, the Coaler wrestling team took on Yorkville Christian in the championship match of the IHSA Class 1A State Team Wrestling Tournament and came away with a 32-31 victory. This was just a week after the Coalers sent a record-tying 14 wrestlers to the individual state tournament. Four Coalers placed at the individual state tournament: Joey Breneman in third, Braiden Young in fourth, Brody Widlowski in fifth place and Jake Piatak in sixth.

At its January board meeting, the Coal City Board of Education was able to recognize two staff members who achieved the National Board Certification. Aimee Wren and Marty Egan both successfully completed the grueling but rewarding process to obtain this recognition. Teachers who become National Board Certified have met high standards through study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review. Research has shown that National Board Certified Teachers demonstrate improvement in their teaching practice. Coal City teachers would not have had this opportunity without Pam Vigna, a retired Coal City teacher, who guides the teachers through this process. Her guidance and knowledge are valued and appreciated as she helps our master teachers reach this status.

It is that time of year when the district prepares for next year’s incoming kindergarten students. Kindergarten registration is set for Wednesday, April 26 at Coal City Early Childhood Center. Any Coal City School District residents with a child who will be 5 on or before Sept. 1, are encouraged to contact the Early Childhood Center at 815-634-5042.

  • Christopher Spencer is the superintendent for Coal City District 1. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools and organizations to share news and information about their organization.