Friday, February 24, 2017

The Good Sport Edition

On the Court & In the Stands
A positive school culture and success in athletics/activities often go hand in hand. If this winter season is an accurate barometer, then our school culture is very strong and positive. As you can see in the “Highlights and Successes” section of this week’s blog post, great things are happening weekly in the gyms, in the pool and in our competitive activities. In fact, Fremd has sent competitors to almost every possible state competition in the activities we offer during the winter:
Photo courtesy of Michael O'Brien's (Sun-Times) Twitter account
  • Boys Swimming (competing this weekend, check out Friday’s Daily Herald article about our team)
  • Gymnastics
  • Wrestling
  • Cheer
  • Dance
  • Speech
  • Chess
Several competitive activities are nearing their state competition, such as HOSA, BPA, Debate and Scholastic Bowl. Additionally, both the Boys and Girls Basketball teams’ hopes are alive for a state tournament berth.

I want to both thank you for your support of our competitive teams, and to encourage your attendance during the culminating events and tournaments. Not only do our students appreciate seeing lots of familiar faces in the stands, but your presence can also provide a competitive advantage to our teams.

Here are some things that you can continue to do to make sure you (and your student) are representing Fremd in the best possible light in the stands:
  • Honor the game--Act in a way that makes others proud of our team and our fans.
  • Let the refs, coaches and players do their jobs...they all have tough jobs, and they are doing them to the best of their ability.
  • Be a Culture-Keeper--You know what it means to be a good sport. Do your part to make sure that others are also showing good sportsmanship.
  • “How you play a game shows some of your character. How you win or lose a game shows all of it.” - Bart Starr 

Highlights and Successes:

  • Congratulations to Directors Matt Moore, Marla Caballero, and Christina Collins and the following ILMEA All-State Student Musicians:  Band: Bethany Sorman; Orchestra: Lauren Cardoza, Andres Carrero, Daniel Choi, Hannah Lin; Chorus: Lauren Berryhill, Kay Petrie, Ria Ravi, Collin Schroeder and Allison Gile.
  • Congratulations to IHSA Chess State Medalist Anthony Mu on taking 6th place on Board 6 at the State Meet.
  • Congratulations to the following State Medalists at the State Speech Competition:  Impromptu Speaking, 5th place Jack Rosenwinkel; Radio Speaking, 6th place Devin Dionne and Humorous Duet Acting, 6th place Brian Rosenwinkel and Pagie Dirkes Jacks.
  • Congratulations to Coach David Yates and the Girls Basketball Team on winning the Regional Championship.
  • Congratulations to Coach Kristen Newby and the following Boys Swimming & Diving State Qualifiers:  1st place and New School Record Medley Relay -  Tony Lee, Alex Schillinger, Nick Seroni, Nick Nevins; 2nd place 200 Freestyle: -  Nick Seroni; 5rh place 200 Freestyle - Arnas Maciunas; 2nd place 200 Individual Medley - Alex Schillinger; 2nd place Diving - Zach Mega; 1st place 50 Freestyle - Nick Nevins; 2nd place 50 Freestyle - Danny Konishi; 2nd place 100 Butterfly - Nick Seroni; 2nd place 100 Freestyle - Danny Konishi;4th place 100 Freestyle - Arnas Maciunas; 5th place 500 Freestyle - Paul Ponte; 1st place 200 Freestyle Relay - Nick Nevins, Danny Konishi, Tony Lee, Arnas Maciunas; 3rd place 100 Backstroke - Paul Ponte; 6th place 100 Backstroke - Tony Lee; 1st place 100 Breastroke - Alex Schillinger and 1st place 400 Free Relay - Nick Nevins, Danny Konishi, Nick Seroni, Arnas Maciunas.
  • Congratulations to Swim Coach Kristen Newby on being named Sectional Coach of the Year!
  • Congratulations to Fremd’s competitive showchoir, Soundscape, for placing 1st in their division at El Paso-Gridley High School.  The group involves 41 students in grades 9-12 along with 9 instrumentalist in the combo.  Annie Yamamoto and Luke Madden were acknowledged as outstanding performers from the group and Nicole Calvaresi was a finalist in the solo competition for singing “She Used to Be Mine” from the musical, Waitress.
  • Congratulations to wrestler Zach Nemec on winning 3rd place (285) at the State Competition.
  • Congratulations to Coach Bob Widlowski and the Fremd Boys Basketball Team on winning the MSL Championship!
Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

February 24
Boys Swimming & Diving State @ New Trier H.S.
February 25
Girls Track & Field Triangular @ Glenbard West H.S. - 9:00 a.m.

Boys Swimming & Diving State @ New Trier H.S.
February 27
Girls Basketball Super Sectional @ Dundee Crown H.S. - 7:00 p.m.

Orchestra Chamber Night - 6:00-9:00 p.m.
February 28
Boys Basketball Regional @ Hoffman Estates H.S. - 7:30 p.m.
For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.

Staff Spotlight

Name: Rob Berki

Position: Business Education Teacher

Years at Fremd: 2

Life Before Fremd: Born in Oregon, raised in Nebraska (go big red!), I’ve been gradually working my way east across the country. I worked in higher education, primarily in enrollment, for about 10 years. I also was an adjunct faculty member teaching economic courses. When I was in college my advisor told me it would take an extra semester to finish my education degree so in a moment of self-righteousness I balked and changed my major. There I was 10 years later still finishing my ed. Cert. program. I thought my previous professional experiences were a wasted part of my life, but I look back now and realize how much I learned and experienced that I’m able to use in the classroom.

Hobbies/Interests: Primarily sports, although these days as a parent to two daughters, we are basically just super busy with life. I still play basketball in leagues when I can, and I love sports and movies. I wish I had more time to work on my golf game, but I never seem to get any better anyway! I also love technology, I spend a lot of time tinkering around my house with tech, much to the annoyance of everyone else!

Insider Tip for Parents: Make sure you are checking in on the Infinite Campus portal to see how your student is doing, and make sure to join the Schoology pages of your students classes. All the information you need to know how your student is doing academically can be found there in real time, it’s really unbelievable how much is available online now, you don’t need to wait for a midterm report or a call from the teacher.

Ask the Principal

Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Parking Edition

Parking: Fremd’s Waterloo

Recently, the Palatine Police Department has deployed license plate recognition technology to monitor public parking, including the Fremd High School parking lot. As a result, we have discovered MANY parking violations subject to fines from the village.

Moving forward, a student’s second semester parking permit tag number needs to correspond with the license plate registered with the school. If the second semester permit number and the license plate the school has on file do not match, a student could receive a parking ticket from the Palatine Police Department.
Additionally, the Palatine Police Department will not be issuing any more warnings for vehicles that do not have the proper second semester parking permit displayed. Please make sure your student’s second semester permit is displayed at all times or they could be subject to a parking ticket from the Palatine Police Department.

Any student found to be misusing their parking pass privileges--making duplicates, allowing a friend to use the pass, selling the pass to another student--may be subject to a parking pass suspension or revocation. Fraudulent parking passes, including forgeries and parking passes bought on the secondary market, will be confiscated.

Highlights and Successes:
  • Congratulations to Coach Katie Giegler and the Fremd Speech Team on being Regional Champions and qualifying 12 of 15 events for the Sectional Tournament..  Award winners include:  Ben mathew - 1st place, Poetry Reading;  Brian rosenwinkel & paige Dirkes Jacks - 1st Humorous Duet Acting;  Brian Rosenwinkel - 1st place, Original Comedy;  Jack Rosenwinkel - 1st place, Extemporaneous speaking;  Katie Haggett - 1st place, Prose Reading;  Paige Dirkes Jacks - 1st place Dramatic Interpretation; Ben Mathew & Joey Barrett - 2nd place, Dramatic Duet Acting; Devin Dionne - 2nd place, Radio Speaking; Katie Haggett - 2nd place, Humorous Interpretation; Performance in the Round - 2nd place; Jack Rosenwinkel - 3rd place, Impromptu Speaking; and Kellie Liu - 3rd place, Special Occasion Speaking.
  • Congratulations to the following State qualifying BPA members:  Ranking 1st at the BPA Regional:  Anthony Aigner, Max Chan, Bryan Piento, Daniel Piento - Video Production Team A;  Liana Bagel, Emily Baker, Kate Bodensteiner, Marta Cholewa - Web Site Design Team A;  Priyal Gosar - Presentation Management Individual;  Haisam Hachem, Hari Yagatili - Small Business Management Team B;  Lydia Hahm - Banking & Finance and Medical Office Procedures; Maegan Jong - Extemporaneous Speech and Prepared Speech; Aakash Lilaramani, Anshu Nidamanuri - Small Business Management Team B;  Yulia Odinokova - Entrepreneurship; Tim Okonek - Business Law and Ethics - Pilot; Vikas Reddy - Economic Research Individual; Andrew Ruan, Shun Yamamoto, Kristine Yim, Mingda Zhang - Economic Research Team B; and Jason Yim - Graphic Design Promotions.  Ranking 2nd at the BPA Regional:  Ryan Arbour, Darian Gerasta, Kyle Ingram - Parliamentary Procedure Team A;  Javen Joerger, Colin Moody, Alyssa Ricken, Mia Robben, Ian Wojcik - Broadcast News Production Team A; Brandon Matuszcyzak, Peter Opinante, Michael Parzynski - Broadcast News Production Team A; Grace Miller, Shreya Tewari, Aidan Voehringer, Katherine Wu - Presentation Management Team B; Yulia Odinokova - Advanced Interview Skills; Nathan Stevens - Presentation Management Individual; Shun Yamamoto - Interview Skills; Mingda Zhang - Extemporaneous Speech.  Ranking 3rd at the BPA Regional:  Daniel Piento - Payroll Accounting; Sarah Yoon - Legal Office Procedures; Ranking 4th  at the BPA Regional:  Adarsh Muralidharan - Fundamental Spreadsheet Applications; Shreya Tewari - Fundamental Accounting; Kristine Yim - Fundamental Word Processing; Ranking 5th  at the BPA Regional:  Katherine Wu - Banking & Finance.
  • Congratulations to Coach Paul Hardy and The Fremd Robotics Club on having two robots that placed in the top 8 out of 40 other robots last weekend at the District 214 Robot Rumble.  The team also won the Fan Favorite Award for the competition.
  • Congratulations to the following 2017 National Merit Finalists:  Naman Agarwal, Ruchi Nitin Chitgopekar, Praneet Dara, Priyal Gosar, Emma Liu, Kevin Liu, Koumani Niowe-Fankam, Adam Quinn, Mingda Zhang, and Christopher Zhu.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

February 10
Boys Wrestling Sectional Semifinals @ Barrington H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Basketball @ Hoffman Estates H.S. - 7:30 p.m.
February 11
Boys Wrestling Sectional Finals @ Barrington H.S. - 9:00 a.m.

Girls Bowling Sectional @ Arlington Lanes - 9:00 a.m.

Boys Track & Field Invitational @ Wheaton North H.S. - 1:00 p.m.

Boys Swimming & Diving Conference @ Conant H.S. - 1:00 p.m.

Boys Basketball vs. Lake Forest @ Deerfield H.S. - 4:30 p.m.
February 13
D211 Honors Orchestra Concert @ HEHS, 7:00 p.m.
February 14
Girls Track & Field @ Glenbrook South H.S. - 4:30 p.m.
February 15
Band Benefit Dinner/Concert - Cafe/Auditorium, 6:00/7:30 p.m.

Girls Basketball Regional @ Barrington H.S. - 6:00 p.m.
February 16
Girls Basketball Regional @ Barrington H.S. - 7:00 p.m.

Boys Wrestling State @ State Farm Center, Champaign - 7:30 p.m.
February 17
Girls Bowling State

For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.

Staff Spotlight

Name: Jim Aikens
Position: Science Teacher, Head Boys Track Coach, Assistant Boys Cross Country Coach
Years at Fremd: Started @ Fremd in 1985, Retiring 2017 = 32 years
Life Before Fremd: I received my education degree from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. I taught science and  coached football & track at Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ. I also taught science and coached soccer & track at Conant High School, Hoffman Estates, IL.
Hobbies/Interests: Riding my motorcycle whenever possible. Traveling around our great country visiting the amazing national parks. Coaching the shot put & discus events.
Insider Tip for Parents: Really encourage your child to get involved in some aspect of high school.  I strongly feel for the students to get the most out of their high school experience they must buy into something. It’s the old adage “the more you put into something the more you get out of it”.

Ask the Principal

Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ask the Principal Edition

Ask the Principal
Typically, the "Ask the Principal" feature of my blog is located near the bottom of the page. In recent weeks, I’ve received quite a few questions from parents, so I have decided to place your important questions “above the fold,” as they say in the newspaper business.

Q: With the Media Center remodel, will there still be books?
A: It is true that the purpose of a library is evolving in many ways, but books will still have plenty of physical books on our shelves. To prepare for the remodel, our Media Center staff sorted out books in the collection that haven’t been checked out in five years or more. This eliminated roughly one-quarter of our books. Are students still reading books? Yes! But our digital downloads surpassed physical check-outs three years ago.

Q: I heard there’s going to be a Starbucks in the new Media Center.
A: That would be cool, but the answer is no. We will have a cafe where students can purchase hot and cold drinks, as well as breakfast and lunch items. As part of  the “evolution of libraries,” we are envisioning ambient music and lighting to promote a relaxed, positive atmosphere for our students.

Q: Where do find my student’s class rank?
A: Many years ago, District 211 stopped tracking class rank. Colleges and universities stopped relying on class rank in the admission process, so class rank became an unnecessary, unhealthy competition among students (and parents) that sometimes resulted in decision-making about course selection that had more to do with staying on top and less to do with preparing the student for college and career.

Q: We’ve had a relatively mild winter, but I’m still curious about our cold weather guidelines for canceling classes. What are the guidelines?
A: You’re in luck! Superintendent Cates just put together a video with a group of Schaumburg High School students to explain our procedures. Watch the video here. Spoiler alert: There has to be a Wind Chill Warning (-15 degree temperature or -30 real feel according to

Highlights and Successes:
  • Congratulations to Coach Kevin Palmer and the Scholastic Bowl teams for their success at the Fremd Invitational Tournament. The Varsity A Team took 2nd  and the B Team took 5th  in the competitive Academic Division, which had some of the top teams in the state. In the Frosh-Soph tournament, the A Team took 2nd in the competitive Academic Division and the B Team won the Scholar Division. Additionally ,the Varsity team took 2nd overall Stevenson High School’s History Bowl tournament..
  • Congratulations to Coach Kevin Palmer and the Fremd Scholastic Bowl Team on their success at the Northern Illinois University Huskie Bowl tournament.  The Fremd Scholastic Bowl teams placed three teams in the Elite Eight with the A team winning the tournament. High Scorers for the tournament were Alex Guan who placed 6th overall and Varun Cidambi who placed 10th overall.
  • Congratulations to Coach Katie Giegler and the Fremd Speech Team on placing 3rd at the MSL Conference Tournament.  Award winners include:  Ben Mathew, 1st place - Poetry Reading; Brian Rosenwinkel, 1st place - Original Comedy;  Jack Rosenwinkel, 1st place - Extemporaneous Speaking; Paige Dirkes Jacks, 1st place - Dramatic Interpretation; Ben Mathew & Joey Barrett, 2nd place -  Dramatic Duet Acting; Brian Rosenwinkel & Paige Dirkes Jacks, 3rd place -  Humorous Duet Acting; Jack Rosenwinkel, 3rd place - Impromptu Speaking; Joey Barrett, 3rd place -  Humorous Interpretation; Katie Haggett, 3rd place - Prose Reading; Katie Haggett, 4th place -  Humorous Interpretation; Safa Saied, 4th place - Impromptu Speaking; Andrea Rodriquez & Nicole Suarez, 5th place -  Humorous Duet Acting; Anmol Desai, 5th place -  Prose Reading; Sofia Oliver & Sophia Ladios, 5th place -  Dramatic Duet Acting; Devin Dionne, 6th place -  Radio Speaking; Kellie Liu, 6th place -Special Occasion Speaking; Stephanie Hu, 6th place - Original Oratory; Hannah Chen - Finalist - Informative Speaking;  Missy Wallace, Finalist - Poetry Reading and Lucy Jiang - Finalist - Original Oratory.
  • Congratulations to Coach Lindsey Corcoran and the Fremd cheerleaders on placing 4th at Sectionals and qualifying for State.
  • Congratulations to Coach David Yates and the Fremd Girls Basketball Team on clinching the MSL West for the 8th straight year!
  • Congratulations to Coach Elise Saisi and the Girls Gymnastics Team on taking 2nd place at the MSL Conference.  JV took 3rd place with Riley Kruse winning the All ARound Champion.  The Freshman Team was the MSL Conference Champion with Abby Rydberg winning the All Around Championship.
  • Congratulations to Coach Dan Ruettiger and the Boys Wrestling Team on placing 5th at the MSL Conference.  The following award winners include:126 Jack Riemer Fr. 6th, 138 Cole Riemer Jr. 1st, 145 RJ Cortez Jr. 5th, 152 Adam Kemp Jr. 4th, 160 Quinn Bergles Sr. 1st, 195 Logan McMillan So. 6th, and 285 Zack Nemec Sr. 1st.
  • Congratulations to Coach Martin Zacharia and the Fremd Debate Team on their performance at the ICDA Tournament.  Arash Abbas, Shruthi Kumar, Shreya Mukherjee, and Nabeela Syed all advanced to the TOC Finals Chamber! Award winners are as follows: Nabeela Syed, 1st Place; Shreya Mukherjee, 3rd Place; Sid Karnam, Varsha Krishnan, Danny Lu, Mayur Popuri, 2nd Place Awards; Nicholas DeConcilis, Bill Gao, Faithan To, Sarah Yoon, 3rd Place Awards; Nicholas DeConcilis, Sarah Yoon, Best Presiding Officers. 
  • Congratulations to Coach Martin Zacharia and the Fremd Debate Team on their performance at the Carl Sandburg PF/LD Invitational. Miguel Mercado and Andrew Kim were PF Novice Champions! Award Winners are as follows: Novice: Eileen Peng, 3rd Place & 3rd Speaker; Jessie Huang, 2nd Speaker; Nikhil Sriram & Sharon Wu, 4th Place; Kylie Zhang, 5th Place; Sharon Wu, 4th Speaker; Miguel Mercado, 6th Speaker; Nikhil Sriram, 8th Speaker; Nipun Velupally, 9th Speaker; JV: Justin Yung, 5th Place & 8th Speaker; Michael Murakami, 3rd Speaker; Varsity: Piyush Biswas and Matt Grabianski, 2nd Place; Andrew Ruan, 5th Place; Kashif Javid, 2nd Speaker; Matt Grabianski, 4th Speaker; Mingda Zhang, 6th Speaker; Piyush Biswas, 8th Speaker; Sharbik Dutta, 9th Speaker.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

February 3
Variety Show - Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

Boys/Girls Basketball vs. Barrington H.S. - 6:00 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Competitive Cheer State Finals

Boys Wrestling Regional @ Wheeling H.S. - 9:00 a.m.

Girls Bowling Regional @ Poplar Creek Bowl - 9:00 a.m.
February 4
Variety Show - Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
February 6-10
Writers Week  - Auditorium
February 7
Late Start - 8:50 a.m. start

Girls Gymnastics Sectional @ FHS - 6:00 p.m.

Girls Basketball Crossover
February 8
Girls Basketball MSL Championship - 7:30 p.m.

For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.

Ask the Principal

Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.