Rantoul juniors last year missed mark academically

RANTOUL – The Rantoul Township High School principal said he expects to see a better school report card next year when changes in the curriculum have time to take effect.

But this year's seniors, who took the state's Prairie State Exam last spring as juniors, did not achieve adequate progress in reading or math, Principal Scott Amerio said Monday.

Event to spotlight immigrant services

DANVILLE – On Monday afternoon at La Hacienda on Vermilion Street, owner Maria Herrada rang up purchases of Mexican candy and pre-made tamale mix, sold a few phone cards and completed a money wire transaction, all in the course of 10 minutes.

Herrada has lived in the area for 20 years, moving from Mexico to be with her husband's family. She said services geared toward Hispanics, once scarce, are becoming more available in the community. But not many Hispanics are aware of what is available, Herrada said.

Teen uses Bar Mitzvah money to give school libraries a boost

URBANA – "Now, you are a man."

So go the words told to many a boy on his Bar Mitzvah day, the rite of passage that signifies adulthood in the Jewish world. The boy – or girl if it's a Bat Mitzvah – learns about Judaism and reads in Hebrew from the Torah, the Jewish holy book, in front of family, friends and congregants.

DACC chief gets input in Hoopeston

HOOPESTON – A little "Coffee & Conversation" made its debut in Hoopeston last Thursday morning.

Danville Area Community College President Alice Jacobs began her journey through the college district to gather information and data of the needs and wants of residents in the district.

Students help mark 100 years of Urbana Park District

URBANA – A few days back, several students at University Laboratory High School were given a different kind of homework assignment: Go take a walk in a park.

What they found will help shape the background of 100 years of Urbana.

Staerkel Planetarium fund drive receives major donations

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College has pledges of $250,000 in its campaign to raise $1.2 million to upgrade Staerkel Planetarium, officials announced Thursday.

At a planetarium party staged on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, foundation head Carl Meyer said donations by Supervalu, the Linda Mills and Lois Dixon estates and Mary Lou Staerkel, widow of the late William Staerkel, are the first in the fundraising campaign. Meyer said he's working on two more major donations.

Schroeder still serving Parkland in retirement

CHAMPAIGN – Shortly after voters approved a ballot question to start Parkland College, officials hired their first employee to help get the massive project organized.

"Harry Green came into the bank where I was working and asked me what I planned to do with my life," said Rachel Schroeder, of the man who led the campaign.

State Department helps fund 15 foreign students

CHAMPAIGN – Overseas students learning new skills at Parkland College say they had the wrong idea about the United States before they came to Champaign.

"There's no bang-bang and helicopters overhead," said Daniel Kristiyanto of Indonesia, one of 15 students from five different countries studying at Parkland for a year – thanks to a new U.S. State Department program that's underwriting expenses.

Franklin students take bullying by the horns

CHAMPAIGN – A girl feels slighted by a friend, so she tells a lie about her, causing others to turn against the friend as well. They post an embarrassing photo and derogatory comments about her on a MySpace site.

A boy whose parents are breaking up takes his anger out by bullying another boy and eventually beating him up.

Blue Ridge Junior High targets bullying

MANSFIELD – Blue Ridge Junior High School students, teachers and their principal created anti-bully week to prevent violence from happening in their school.

Principal John Weaver said the purpose is to create an awareness of what bullying is, the impact it can have and what can be done to step up and discourage it.