2016 News/Press Releases
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Foundation for Educational Excellence Notecards Fundraiser Showcases Original D300 Student Artwork

All-occasion notecards perfect for holiday gift-giving

 ALGONQUIN –Just in time for holiday gift-giving, the School District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence is selling boxed sets of all-occasion note cards that feature unique original works by District 300 art students.

Priced at $15 a pack, the note cards are an ideal gift for loved ones and colleagues this holiday season.  A pack contains 15 note cards, each specially designed by individual D300 art students whose works were among those displayed in the Foundation’s Cultural Arts on the Fox event earlier this year.
All proceeds from sales of the notecards support the Foundation’s mission to enhance and extend learning opportunities for all students in Community Unit School District 300 by funding innovative grant projects. Notecards ordered online by District 300 families will be delivered to the designated child's school one week after payment is received.  Orders placed by other community members can be picked up at the D300 Central Office at 2550 Harnish Drive in Algonquin during regular business hours. (receipt and id required)
The District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence presents the winning artists: 
Dundee-Crown High School
Artist: Cicely Bendler                                                      Artist: Cicely Bendler
Title: Pond of Frogs                                                         Title:Silverstone
Medium: Ceramics                                                          Medium: Watercolor Painting
Artist: Sofia Flores                                                           Artist: Mikayla Frey
Title: Up Up and Away                                                   Title: The Canyon
Medium: 3-D                                                                     Medium: Photography
Artist: Grace McLain
Title: This is News to Me
Medium: Duct Tape, Newspaper, Coffee Filters
Jacobs High School 
Artist: Kaja Biel                                                                 Artist: Isabella Friend
Title: Beauty in the Kitchen                                          Title: Untitled
Medium: Oil Paints                                                          Medium: Watercolors
Artist: Caitlyn Girten                                                       Artist: Jeffrey Stahl
Title: Untitled                                                                    Title: Painting with Nails
Medium: Graphite                                                           Medium: Mixed Media 
Artist: Alyssa Weimer
Title: Baseball Glove
Medium: Graphite
Westfield Community School
Artist: Klarke Campbell                                                 Artist: Hailey Fetting
Title: Blind Contour Line Painting                             Title: Mountain Sunset
Medium: Watercolors                                                    Medium: Tempra Paint
Artist: Sandra Kielsa                                                       Artist: Erin Updike
Title: Untitled                                                                    Title: Spring Flowers
Medium: Colored Pencil                                                Medium: Tempera Paint
Artist: Morgan Williams
Title: Hidden Lady
Medium: Watercolors
Place your order now online at: www.d300foundation.org.  If you have any questions, please call Patricia Ehmann at 847.551.8475 or patricia.ehmann@d300.org
Foundation Trustees from the Performing and Fine Arts committee worked with D300 art educators and their students to select artwork for the Foundation Note Card Sale.  This committee worked with Diamond Graphics in Algonquin, IL to make this project come to life. 

September 2016

Dundee-Crown, Hampshire and Jacobs Students to Learn Ancient Art of Alpaca Felting


With a grant from the School District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence, students from each of the district’s three high schools will learn the ancient art of alpaca felting Sept. 20, 21 and 22, 2016, interacting with these gentle animals on a local farm and using their silky soft wool to create one-of-a-kind art tapestries.                        

Fiber artist Susan Waldron will host a three-day workshop at her alpaca farm located at 39W856 McDonald Road in Elgin, where the students will learn about raising alpacas, harvesting their wool and processing it to make unique textiles and artwork.  The farm will host 20 students from each high school over the course of the three days.

Felting is a simple technique requiring very little equipment, said Hampshire High School art teacher Laura LaRue, and it can produce a finished product in much less time than other painting and textile techniques. The tradition of wool felting dates back to 6500 BC, she said, and most likely was discovered by accident as matted wool was noticed on sheep or perhaps when stuffed in shoes for warmth eventually becoming stiff like fabric.


In Waldron’s studio, students will utilize different felting techniques, including the traditional process in which layers of the wool are moistened with water and pressed into a fabric-like material as well as needle-felting. They’ll also learn how the "painting" process for felting parallels that of traditional painting techniques, using dyed alpaca fiber with colors that can be blended and layered to create a balanced composition showing depth of color and space.

“The only machines used are your hands,” Waldron said. “It is a wonderful way to teach all of the elements of painting--color, value, line and texture--with the total freedom that all of these colored fibers give you.” 

LaRue, who with art teachers Tisha Ellis at Jacobs and Kim Fuller at Dundee-Crown High School is administering the grant project, said that introducing students to this time-honored technique will highlight a broad range of educational themes.

“The students will learn about Waldron’s sustainable production process, as well as the link between farmers, farm communities, ancient production, and current art and studio practices,” LaRue said.


 “We want to drive home the idea that design thinking does not have to rely on expensive modern technology or supplies,” LaRue said, “but rather can be born utilizing technology that has remained unchanged for centuries.”

The foundation funded a similar visit to the alpaca farm for art students in 2011, when Waldron recalls students “fell in love” with the alpacas.

“For some of the students, it was their first visit to a farm let alone an alpaca farm,” she said. “They were fascinated by the felting process and were thrilled with their finished tapestries.”

To learn more about Susan Waldron and her Alpaca Farm, please visit: www.susanwaldronart.com or call (847) 888-3934. 

The D300 Foundation’s mission is to enhance and extend learning opportunities in all D300 schools. Since the D300 Foundation was founded in 2002, it has awarded nearly one half million dollars in local education grants – all made possible by private donations and special fundraisers.  For information about how you can partner with the D300 Foundation and to view some of the project grants we have funded, please visit our website at: http://www.d300foundation.org. 


February 2016

School District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence Announces Sixth Annual Otto Cultural Arts on the Fox

Algonquin, IL—The School District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence will present the sixth annual Cultural Arts on the Fox April 22-23, 2016, showcasing outstanding student music and visual arts set against gorgeous views of the Fox River in historic Old Town Carpentersville.

The Cultural Arts on the Fox open house will take place on Friday, April 22, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm and Saturday, April 23, from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the former Illinois Iron & Bolt Foundry building along the Fox River at 100 S. Lincoln Ave., which was recently renovated by Otto Engineering. Admission to the event is $1, and all donations will benefit the Carpentersville Boys and Girls Club.

Among the musical performances, the event will feature:

Dundee-Crown High School Jazz Ensemble

Under the guidance of jazz director Mark Bettcher, who has performed professionally with luminaries such as Tony Bennett, Ramsey Lewis, Gladys Knight and Phil Collins, the Dundee-Crown High School Jazz Ensemble is one of the top student groups in the state. It performed at the ILMEA All-State Music Convention in 2014 and was selected again to perform for the 2016 Convention. Bettcher started the Dundee-Crown Jazz Program in 1989 with a group of eager students who rehearsed in the auto shop (the ultimate garage band) during their lunch hour. Twenty-six years later, after a continual flow of wonderfully talented students and performances with numerous guest artists throughout the United States and Canada, the program is swingin’ as hard as ever.

Jacobs HS Chamber Orchestra

The Jacobs High School Chamber Orchestra features 26 talented and dedicated students led by director Terry Foster, who also serves as symphony conductor for the McHenry County Music Center. The Jacobs chamber orchestra has worked with renowned clinicians including Robert Hasty of Northwestern University, Gary Lewis of the University of Colorado, and Louis Bergonzi of the University of Illinois. In 2013 the JHS Orchestra Program commissioned a work from Michael Ippolito, a music composition professor at Texas State University.

Hampshire HS Chamber Orchestra

The Hampshire High School Chamber Orchestra is an extracurricular, audition-based ensemble consisting of nine talented and hard-working students who meet weekly to rehearse. While directed by Emma Leland, the Chamber Orchestra is primarily a student-propelled ensemble, rehearsing together outside of class time to achieve a high level of performance.

More than 1000 pieces of student artwork also will be on display, with college representatives on hand to offer guidance to those planning to pursue art as a career and award scholarships to one student from each D300 high school. Students presented American Academy of Art scholarships at last year’s Cultural Arts on the Fox include Dundee-Crown student Alexandria Escobedo, Jacobs High School Student Isabella Friend and Juan Valladares from Hampshire High School.

“We are thrilled to be able to showcase the amazing talent of District 300 students in such a beautiful setting for community members to come and soak it all in,” said D300 Foundation volunteer trustee Mary Gross.

For more information, please contact Diane Magerko, D300 Foundation Performing and Fine Arts Chair, at (312) 310-9156 or dianemagerko@comcast.net. To view previous Cultural Arts on the Fox performances and artwork, visit the foundation’s website at www.d300foundation.org or our Facebook page.

About the School District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence

The mission of the School District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence is to enhance and extend learning opportunities for all students in in all D300, which serves more than 20,000 students and is one of the largest districts in the state. Since its founding in 2002, the Foundation has raised well over half a million dollars for District 300 schools and students. The Foundation focuses on four areas of impact: Literacy, Performing and Fine Arts, Science and Technology, and Student Leadership.

Funding for the Foundation is raised through corporate partnerships, private donations, and Foundation events. View some of the projects and grants the D300 Foundation has funded by visiting www.d300foundation.org.

About Otto Engineering

Tom Roeser, the owner of Otto Engineering, has changed the face of downtown Carpentersville by restoring the buildings along the Fox River to a pristine level. Roeser recently was featured in CNNMoney: http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/02/real_estate/carpentersville-foreclosure/index.html.  A large portion of the original Illinois Iron & Bolt Foundry building structure has been maintained in Otto’s landmark buildings. To learn more about the site for our night of cultural arts, please visit: http://www.11westmain.com/Building_Pictures.html.

January 2016

The D300 Foundation Musical Instrument Lending Library Receives a Special Gift from EFS Foundation 


The District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence would like to thank the EFS Foundation for providing funding to purchase new musical instruments for the D300 Foundation Instrument Lending Library. This grant award was the result of a team effort by Craig Zieleniewski, Gilberts Elementary School Principal, Michael Kasper, Carpentersville Middle School Music Teacher, and Diane Magerko, D300 Foundation Performing and Fine Arts Chair.

The money received from this grant was used to purchase large, specialty instruments that are too expensive for students to purchase on their own.  These instruments include: a Bassoon to replace the one currently being used which dates back to the 1960s and is in disrepair and a Euphonium and Marimba which will be new additions to the D300 Instrument Lending Library.  Michael Kasper said, “Many students that will be able to use the musical instruments being provided by this generous grant of the EFS Foundation, will have their lives transformed. The educational and cultural benefits of playing a musical instrument are endless. Music stimulates parts of the brain that are related to reading, mathematics and emotional development. Music helps improve learning ability and memory by stimulating patterns of brain development.”


The purchase of these new instruments for the D300 Foundation Instrument Lending Library will offer a wider variety of music to D300 music students.  Kasper continues, “Playing a musical instrument builds confidence in students. Through music, with these instruments being provided by the EFS Foundation, more D300 music students will be able to express themselves in their community in a positive way.” 


If you have a musical instrument collecting dust on a shelf or in a closet, the D300 Foundation asks that you please consider donating where it will find a new home in the Lending Library for D300 music students to access.  This year, music students from at least nine different schools borrowed instruments from the Lending Library.  The students using these instruments range from newly recruited fifth graders to accomplished high school seniors.  If you wish to donate an instrument or donate a monetary tax-deductible donation for the D300 Foundation Lending Library, please call Pat Ehmann at the D300 Foundation at 847-551-8475.

The D300 Foundation’s mission is to enhance and extend learning opportunities in all D300 schools. Since the D300 Foundation was founded in 2002, it has awarded nearly one half million dollars in local education grants – all made possible through corporate partnerships, private donations and special fundraisers.

For information about how you can partner with the D300 Foundation and to view all project grants the Foundation has funded, please visit: http://www.d300foundation.org 

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