Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond

Zola: Challenges are 'just part of our story'

CHAMPAIGN — Susan Zola does not slow down for anyone.

"Let's walk and talk" has become the unofficial tagline for Unit 4's assistant superintendent, a power walker who can field questions from a reporter in the same stride as she schedules a meeting.

30 Days, 30 Grads: Danville alum a smart fish in a small pond

DANVILLE — Before graduating from Danville High School, Luke Robinson went looking for a college that would give him that same small community feeling he had grown to love during a childhood in Vermilion County.

Garth Brooks on C-U: 'This place stays forever young'

CHAMPAIGN — Friday night's performance at State Farm Center was show No. 325 on his world tour with wife Trisha Yearwood, but Garth Brooks hasn't grown tired of playing any of his greatest hits.

Not even "Friends in Low Places."

30 Days, 30 Grads: STM alum went 'above and beyond'

Is there a college grad you'd like to brag about? Email managing editor Jeff D'Alessio at

CHAMPAIGN — In 10 days, Sean Monahan will receive a diploma from an engineering school ranked among the five best in America.

Teacher of the Week: Gary Pinkerton

On Wednesdays, we'll spotlight a difference-making area educator. To nominate a teacher, tweet to education reporter @Nicole_Lafond with the hashtag #TeacherOfTheWeek.

Urbana, PBL leaders earn 'Superintendent of Distinction' honors

SPRINGFIELD — Two area superintendents were honored Monday by several state agencies for their leadership and dedication to their school districts.

Both new Champaign school board members jump right in

CHAMPAIGN — On their first night as new Champaign school board members, Heather Vazquez and Bruce Brown were quickly thrown right into the mix, approving three new administrative hires, one of them directly related to the $183.4 million referendum passed in November.

Just 1 Question: Healthy eating in Arcola schools

Most Arcola junior high students prefer healthy food to junk food come lunchtime.

So discovered a group of seventh- and eighth-graders when they surveyed their peers. The group's next task: making healthy eating a reality at school.

Out-of-this-world experiment

CHAMPAIGN — Two University of Illinois freshman are taking agricultural engineering to new heights.


As one of eight teams chosen by an India-based space technology start-up to participate in the first private industry mission to the moon, Alex Darragh and Matthew Steinlauf may soon be the first to grow a plant on the lunar surface.

Centennial's graduation will be the first to return to SFC

CHAMPAIGN — After three years of renovations, the upgraded State Farm Center is ready to start holding graduations for high school seniors again.

First up: Centennial High School Class of 2017.