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PMSA Staff, Student Honored For Helping Classmate

May 13, 2016 09:03 AM
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Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, said that the recognition of four PMSA teachers and a PMSA senior at the May 10 Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education’s regular meeting at PMSA was "most unusual" in that it was not "academic in nature but humanistic and filled with heartfelt emotion that has touched us all."
 
PMSA wellness teachers, Mrs. Jessica Schaub, Mr. Vincent Stubstad, and Mr. Peter Zak, along with Victoria Mota, a PMSA senior, and Dr. John Wardisiani, a PMSA science teacher and PMSA Key Club sponsor, were honored by the Board for their work in creating "Michelle’s Mile," which took place on April 22.
 
"Michelle’s Mile" was a fundraiser that saw students, faculty, staff, and others completed 520.14 miles in laps around the second floor at PMSA and raised more than $2,000. All proceeds are benefitting Michelle Harris, a PMSA senior who was stricken with a life-threatening autoimmune respiratory condition in December. Michelle spent five months in the hospital in Chicago and in Birmingham, Alabama, for a possible lung transplant due to the condition. She eventually recovered enough to be able to return home in April and on May 6, attended the PMSA prom, where she was voted prom queen.
 
With Michelle and her mother, Mrs. Sharon Harris, in attendance, Victoria Mota said that "Michelle’s Mile" showed the family spirit at PMSA.
 
"It brought us closer together," Victoria said. "During the laps, the school became a united family."
 
Dr. Karvelas said that Michelle, a B+ student who carried three advanced placement class, will be graduating on May 21 at UIC Pavilion.
 
"She has overcome all obstacles and is graduating with her classmates," Dr. Karvelas said. "We are elated that she will be a graduate of the Class of 2016."
 
Mrs. Harris thanked the school and the district for their efforts.
 
"This was an amazing experience to see the school come together," she said. "I thank all of you for giving special thoughts and prayers."
 
Also honored at the Board meeting was Dr. Karvelas herself. Dr. Karvelas recently was named High School Principal of the Year for the West Cook Region by the Illinois Principals Association. Ms. Brenda Horton, executive director of human resources for District 209, said that under Dr. Karvelas’ leadership, PMSA has been ranked among the best high schools in the state by publications and websites such as U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, and Schooldigger.com.
 
"This honoree is a passionate and dedicated leader who has received numerous awards in the past," Ms. Horton said.
 
In other news from the meeting, Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that this year’s graduating class will have several notable accomplishments, including the amount of scholarship money awarded to students. Early reports indicate members of this year’s graduating class have earned more than $25 million. The number of expected graduates also will be higher, she said.
 
"This is one of the largest graduating classes we’ve had," Dr. Collins-Hart said. 
 
For more photos from the meeting, please click here.
 
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