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Education

John F. Kennedy School holds honors awards program on May 22

Former Superintendent Charles Palia was recently honored as the first inductee into the Spring Valley C.C.S.D. Foundation Honors Hall of Fame for his decades of service and dedication to Spring Valley and its children.
Former Superintendent Charles Palia was recently honored as the first inductee into the Spring Valley C.C.S.D. Foundation Honors Hall of Fame for his decades of service and dedication to Spring Valley and its children.

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley Superintendent James Hermes recently released information regarding the John F. Kennedy School Honors Awards Program. The following awards and honors were given on May 22:

The Spring Valley Elementary Foundation Hall of Fame honors

Spring Valley Elementary School is proud of the district’s rich history. Charles Palia played a major role in establishing the school district and is the foundation’s first ever inductee into the Spring Valley C.C.S.D. Foundation Honors Hall of Fame. 

Palia worked as a teacher, principal, superintendent and school bus driver for 44 years in the Spring Valley Elementary District. He was a lifelong resident of Spring Valley and went through the school system culminating with graduation from Hall High School. He then attended junior college at St. Bede Academy as a pre-med major. World War II broke out, and he served as a Navy medic for three years at a hospital in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After the war, he completed his junior college work and then graduated from Southern Illinois University with degrees in zoology and mathematics. He wanted to be a doctor, but two children and a wife changed his mind to education. He taught math and science at Grant and Lincoln schools. At Lincoln, he was also the principal. He then became principal at the newly-built Kennedy Junior High, where he became superintendent after receiving his master’s degree in educational administration from Northern Illinois University.

He helped begin the education for the physically and mentally handicapped in Malden that later became Gateway Center, where he served as a board member. He also served on the Bureau County Mental Health Board, was a board member of the Quad-County Counseling Service, director of the Bureau-Marshall-Putnam Counties Special Education Co-op, and as a member of the Starved Rock Division of the Illinois Association of School Board’s Governing Board.

He also was scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 33 for 33 years. He served on the Spring Valley Library Board, the Spring Valley Youth Center Board, Spring Valley Rotary where he was president; and he was also active with the American Legion, American Red Cross, VFW, St. John Bosco Society, Knights of Columbus, Moose, the United Fund and the Salvation Army. He was the recipient of the Kahla Jean Lansing Memorial Award. The award was established to reward a lifetime of dedicating energy and resources to the safety and well-being of children, both professionally and through volunteerism.

Other examples of his dedication to the children of the Spring Valley school system was by serving as a Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball coach, Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Explorer Scout leader, scoutmaster and Explorer adviser, and volunteer with the Lighted Way Association.

His wife was Enise Nanni Palia, and they had two children. Palia’s son, Charles, devoted his life to teaching high school English, speech and theater. Their other son, David, worked as an office manager for the Department of Transportation. They also have three grandchildren, Stephanie, who has a degree in finance from the University of Houston; Matthew, who has a degree in business from Western Illinois University; and Kayla, who has degree in hospitality from the University of Nebraska.

Staff awards

• Retiring teachers — Paula Toraason and Penny Redshaw, both worked from 1998 to 2019.

• Retiring teacher’s aide — Sue Sobin, worked from 1998 to 2019.

• Retiring custodians — Mike Hassler and Buster Zenor.

• 25 years of service — Jean Larson, counselor.

• 15 years of service — Lynette Lucas, speech, and Erica Ott, cook.

• 10 years of service — Brittney Toraason, kindergarten teacher.

• Five years of service — Brad Kehl, math; Amy Cacciatori, sixth-grade ELA teacher; Nicki Anderson, first-grade teacher; Sara Green, fourth-grade teacher; Abby Higdon, kindergarten teacher; and Jim Eschenbaum, Kevin Hrovat and Ken Prokufkie, custodians.

• Most innovative lesson of the year — Janet Roche and Paula Toraason, third grade.

• Most innovative use of technology — Kate Fiocchi, librarian.

• Tireless Award — Natalie Janusick, fourth grade.

• Mentor Award — Paula Toraason, third grade.

• Volunteer of the Year award — Patti Boroski.

• Perfect attendance — Stephanie Brady-Crite, ELA teacher.

Student Awards

• Scholastic Bowl MVP — Aiden Campbell.

• Social Studies Student of the Year — Aidan Campbell.

• Physical Education Student of the Year — Cruz Martinez-Prado and Jennifer Casford.

• Language Arts Student of the Year — Shechinah Ridley.

• Science Student of the Year — Bennet Schmollinger.

• Mathematics Student of the Year — Aidan Campbell.

• Perfect attendance — Jonathon Perez, Nathan Ruiz, Kacia Orlandi, Olivia Poole, Marcos Castro-Yanez, Lillian Palmieri, Jessica Casford, Declan Kulpa, Michel Sanchez- Rodriguez, Antonio Aldana, Cameron Allison, Grabiel Cano-Guzman, Nevaeh Ridley, Ryann Shue, Chloe Hicks, Josh Orlandi, Javier Serrano, Gwendolyn Struck, Michael Zaragoza and Jennifer Casford.

• Scholastic Honors Award (graduates who maintained a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA) — Isabella Cacciatori, Aidan Campbell, Jennifer Casford, Carys Finklea, Julian Flores, Ana Garcia-Guerrero, Promise Giacometti and Shechinah Ridley.

PBIS (no major or minor behavior infractions all three years of sixth through eighth grades) — Aidan Campbell, Daphney Coble, Carys Finklea, Julian Flores, Ana Garcia-Guerrero, Promise Giacometti, Liliana Heredia, Isabella Marquez, Shechinah Ridley, Joseph Schrader, Kambria Simmons, Michael Szafranski and Kali Strader.

Sixth-grade athletics

• Girls basketball most improved — Mady Ponsetti; Heart and Hustle Award — Camryn Heiden; MVP — Kennedy Wozniak.

• Boys basketball most improved — Andrew Martinez; Heart and Hustle — Joey Azarskis; and MVP — Jack Jablonski.

Seventh-grade athletics

• Girls basketball most improved — Angela Garcia; Heart and Hustle — Sierah Shaver; and MVP — McKenna Christiansen.

• Boys basketball most improved — Joseph Bacidore; Heart and Hustle — Bradley Pelszyn­ski; and MVP — Gianni Guerrini.

• Volleyball most improved — Angela Garcia; Heart and Hustle — Hannah Vanaman; and MVP — Kennedy Pelzer.

• Girls track most improved — Maddy Lyons-Lewis; Heart and Hustle — Isabella Templeton; and MVP — Sierah Shaver.

• Boys track most improved — Jack Jablonski; Heart and Hustle — Jacob Moore; and MVP — Gianni Guerrini.

Eighth-grade athletics

• Girls basketball most improved — Jayden Jones; Heart and Hustle — Bella Rybarczyk; and MVP — Promise Giacometti.

• Boys basketball most improved — Caden Backes; Heart and Hustle — Dawson Sobin; and MVP — Mac Resetich.

• Volleyball most improved — Kali Strader; Heart and Hustle — Promise Giacometti; and MVP — Ella Taliani.

• Girls track most improved — Jayden Jones; Heart and Hustle — Danialle Byrd; and MVP — Promise Giacometti.

• Boys track most improved — Donovan Soberalski; Heart and Hustle — Yair Santiago; and MVP — Joe Schrader.

• Male Eighth-Grade Athlete of the Year — Mac Resetich.

• Female Eighth-Grade Athlete of the Year — Promise Giacometti.

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