Fair breaks cultural barriers, teaches understanding with fun

URBANA – Apparently, the rhythm is gonna get you.

That's how it appeared Friday at University Laboratory High School's Cultural Fair, where West African dancer Djibril Camara led first a half dozen, then several dozen, then about a hundred Uni students in a dance from his native land.

After-school program focuses on clean water issues

CHAMPAIGN – A couple of weeks ago, 8-year-old Musonda Chansa didn't know what an ecosystem was. But now he thinks what he's been learning about the animals that live in different ecosystems is pretty cool.

"Some frogs in the rainforest sometimes live in a certain type of leaf. It's kind of like a day care center when they're growing up," Musonda said.

Urbana grade school celebrates Latinos with songs, history

URBANA – Up on stage, Paula Norato tapped out "Guantanamera" on the claves, the sticklike instrument's clicking complementing the Latin song.

The Leal Elementary School fifth-grader was the only child in a band with adults for her performance, but she's confident in her abilities, and in her Latino culture – the subject of Thursday's all-school assembly for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Catlin board worried about school population

CATLIN – School officials said Thursday that they feared that the district's smaller-than-normal kindergarten class this year reflects a trend in the district and the county.

Superintendent Guy Banicki said Catlin Grade School currently has its smallest class in recent years – 24 students. Principal Dennis Buesking said the kindergarten enrollment is usually closer to 35, but the district has had more kindergarten students than that for the past four years – and the kindergarten class last year had close to 40 students in it.

Landmark idea of superconductivity turns 50

Leon Cooper says he knew it was important when he and University of Illinois colleagues John Bardeen and Robert Schrieffer came up with their landmark theory of superconductivity 50 years ago.

He even thought what came to be known as the BCS Theory was probably worth a Nobel prize.

Danville school officials get mixed report on performance

DANVILLE – On the academic side, Danville schools have made progress in state testing but not enough to meet state standards as a district. But on the financial side, the district has made some significant improvements and achieved the state's highest mark.

Danville school officials reviewed at Wednesday night's board meeting the district's state test scores, highlighting areas of growth and areas that need work.

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.