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Highland Music Teacher Wins National Award

By Stephanie Malench

The Highland School Board announced at its February 22 meeting that Highland High School music teacher Andre Gibb-Clark was recognized as a Yamaha 40 Under 40 music educator. The award recognizes 40 of the most innovative, creative and impactful music educators under the age of 40 who exemplify the highest level of music education in the United States. Gibb-Clark was one of only three music teachers in Illinois to win the award. Both of the other winners were from Joliet.

The 40 Under 40 music education advocacy program was established by Yamaha to celebrate music educators at all grade levels, public or private, as well as private music instructors, selected from hundreds of music education leaders nominated by students, parents, other teachers or administrators, local instrument dealers and mentors last fall.

All recognized educators possess outstanding exemplification of one of four qualities: action, courage, creativity or growth. The winners were selected from over 450 educators nominated from across the country based on their ability to proactively take the necessary steps that lead to a stronger music program; propose and implement new or bold ideas; show innovation and imagination in achieving plans and objectives; and establish and grow or improve music education in their schools and communities.

“Despite immense challenges, educators are undertaking the most innovative, creative and impactful programs to truly make a difference in strengthening music education nationwide,” said Heather Mansell, segment marketing manager, Education, Yamaha. “Yamaha shares the same commitment to high-quality music education for all, and we look forward to supporting and encouraging the efforts of these 40 outstanding educators and the thousands more like them across the country.”

To see what these educators are doing in their local communities, please visit

Other staff and students recognized during the board meeting included: Amber Spaeth for being nominated for the College Board Counselor Recognition program;

• the Highland High School math team for their performance in their first competition. Freshman Naomi Saathoff placed 5th. In the sophomore division, Gabe Schwarz placed 1st and Joe Jansen place 8th. In the junior division, Eli Jones tied for 7th;

• the Highland Future Farmers of America for their performance in the Vet Tech CDE. Hailey Rensing placed 25th, Tiffany Hediger placed 13th, and Addison Rode place 11th. The Highland FFA placed 5th overall;

• Abby Mortland for receiving a 1st place finish for her solo at the IDTA regionals;

• the HHS math team for their performance in the second competition. Gabe Schwarz placed 2nd and Joe Jansen place 3rd in the sophomore division and Summer Carroll placed 6th in the junior division.

The HHS women’s varsity and men’s JV bowling team for winning against Triad. High game for ladies- Tiffany Hodiger 220, and high game for the men, Steven Reinacher 236. During their second match against Triad the men’s varsity and JV the vomwn’s varsity won. Cariss Merkle had a high game of 245 and a high series of 670. Hinter Hediger had a high game of 264 and a high series of 732;

The HHS bowling team on their performance against Alton. Women’s varsity and Men’s JV won, and the Men’s varsity match ended in a tie. High women’s game Carissa Merkle 258, and women’s high series Mackenzie Davis 618. Men’s high game Steven Reinacher 257, and men’s high series Hunter Hediger 664.

During the Principals’ reports, Alhambra Primary principal Anne Hickey reported that for the 100th day of school teachers provided extra activities during the day (I can count to 10 (by 2s, 5s, and 10s), I know 100 sight words, and I’ve read over 100 pages. Hickey also thanked Ms. Schrage, all of the teachers, and students who participated in Young Authors with a special video. In celebrating the VIP word of the month, the students made cards for residents of the nursing home in Alhambra.

Highland Elementary School Principal Julie Korte reported teachers have been creative in finding ways to get students outside for quick mask-free breaks in spite of the snow and cold recently. HES staff has also been monitoring the parking areas before and after school due to the increase in parents dropping off/picking up because of bus restraints. The police help in the morning when traffic is worse. Afternoons are better due to staggered dismissal.

Grantfork Elementary Principal Anne Hickey shared that Mrs. Warnecke’s 4th grad class has been studying about stored energy in a rubber band in science. Fifth grade students have been studying lunar phases with hands on activities. For Valentine’s Day students designed their own electronic Valentines for their classmates and patients at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital as part of the word of the month Caring.

Highland Middle School announced its Sunshine Surprise staff winners: PJ Bolk, Stephanie Schwappach, Amanda Holcmann, Mindy Bernal, Matt Hendon, Shelly King, Chris Harlieb, Mrs. Abbott, Tarah Rottmann, Erin Smith, Kayla Pike,  and JoAnna Espique, Sophia Fleming was selected as the HMS nominee for the SIJHSAA Jim Burns Award. The Moose Lodge donated to the Gym Plaza Renovation Project.

The board approved  a bid from Gelly Excavating for $1,745,674 for health, life, safety renovations for the high school parking lots and sanitary improvements. In January the board approved issuing bonds for the project in the amount of $1,669,566.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on March 5, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    I believe his name is Andrew, not Andre.

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