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Ambassador program at RPS 205 helps students, district grow

  Renee Soliba is learning big life lessons in student ambassador training at Spring Creek Elementary School. “Don’t give up. Don’t be nervous. You can control yourself,” said Renee, a fifth grader at Spring Creek in the Rockford Public Schools. Renee knows it might be important, though, to give herself some grace.  “You might act childish,” she said. Thank goodness for that.  Renee is one of more than 60 fourth- and fifth grade students at nine RPS 205 elementary schools who are at once gaining leadership skills and helping...

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RPS 205: Rockford Eisenhower Basketball Standout Wins IESA ‘Scholar Attitude’ Award

Kate Dennis’ goal is to play basketball for a Division I college. Her dream: play for Duke University. The Eisenhower Middle School eighth-grader has had her eyes on Duke since she got serious about basketball in fourth grade and attended a Duke University summer basketball camp on the Durham, North Carolina, campus. Around that time she had a growth spurt and grew nine inches in a year. The 13-year-old is 6 feet tall – “That’s what I’m told,” she says with a grin. Kate actually can’t stop smiling. It’s a big year for her. She is the first...

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RPS 205 graduate found her niche at Roosevelt

Roosevelt Alternative High School gave Melissa Cadena the personal learning environment she craved. And Cadena, in turn, gave 100 percent dedication to her education in the Rockford Public Schools. “She is the kind of person that you hope your kids will be as adults,” said Matt Green, an English teacher at Roosevelt. “She’s just an all-around smart, dedicated and talented young lady.  I’m sure I could add a bunch of other superlatives about her, but she is one of the best students I have ever had.” Cadena graduated from...

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Jefferson graduate pays back by teaching in RPS 205

Brittany Glidden was the assignment desk editor for a year at WREX-TV before she realized her mom was right after all. Babs Erickson had always told her daughter she should be a teacher. But it was important for Glidden to make her own way. “I knew two things when I graduated high school,” Glidden said. “I loved writing and I didn’t want to be a teacher, because my mom said I should.” Glidden has taught at East High School in the Rockford Public Schools for 12 years now. Teaching at her alma mater—Jefferson High School—wasn’t an option...

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Doctor indebted to teachers at RPS 205, Guilford

Even in a classroom of exceptional students, even as a first-grader, Dr. Zachary Morris stood out. Before he was a Rhodes Scholar, before he went to Harvard Medical School, before he reached his goal of being a physician-scientist, Morris was a student in the gifted program at Beyer Elementary School in the Rockford Public Schools. His first-grade teacher, Jannice Bubnack, said he was one of those students who never hesitated to ask a question if he didn’t understand a concept. “He was just a hard worker,” Bubnack said. “You could tell in...

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Bank president, East grad learned leadership at RPS 205

As the president of student loan provider Sallie Mae Bank, Paul Thome knows the benefit of an education in dollars and cents.  He also knows about a benefit less measurable: what you gain when you learn alongside someone who doesn’t look like you. Thome graduated from East High School in the Rockford Public Schools in 1969. Although Rockford was largely peaceful, the ‘60s were a time of race riots in many American cities.  At the time, Thome was the president of a district-wide student council, which included representatives...

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RPS 205 taught Auburn graduate critical thinking

Anqunette Parham has a master’s degree in public health. She recently graduated from law school and will take the bar exam this month. “I may just have to accept that I’m a glutton for punishment,” the 1999 Auburn High School graduate says. “Not everybody is invigorated by the acquisition of new information.” Nevertheless, she is grateful to the teachers in the Auburn gifted program at the Rockford Public Schools for always pushing students to ask the right questions. “We were taught to think analytically. If you are going to think about it,...

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