Scott Sichta

Riverside-Brookfield High School senior Jack Jameson has been named a semifinalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program, and 15 other students were named commended students, the high school announced last month.

More than 1.5 million high school juniors nationwide entered the program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of entrants.

About 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, were recognized for their exceptional academic promise. The semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for one of the approximately 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million, which will be awarded next spring.

To be considered finalists, students must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level. More than half of the finalists will win a scholarship.

The commended students won’t have a chance to advance in the competition, but they received letters of commendation for being among the top 50,000 scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT.

National Merit commended students at RBHS included Harry Adami, Eva Funaki, Isabella Garcia, Daniel Gonzalez, Karim Hummos, Olivia Janunas, Ella Johnson, Ryan Lach, Owen Marrs, Abigail Morrissey, Tess Obuchowski, Jovanis Prodanich, James Sacharski, Eric Watson and Emily Xu.


I’d be honored

Lyons Township High School math teacher Kristine Blachinski has received an Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Chicago after being nominated by a recent LTHS graduate.

All incoming freshmen at University of Chicago were given the opportunity to nominate a former teacher who influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth.

The university received letters from thousands of students, inspired by teachers who changed the course of their lives, who taught them to re-imagine texts, to delve deeper into problem-solving and to think beyond the borders of the classroom in the pursuit of their own education.

Award winners receive a certificate and letter that includes details from the student by whom they were nominated and will participate in a virtual event on Oct. 21.

Three Riverside police officers were recently recognized by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) for their work removing impaired drivers from Riverside roadways in 2019.

Sgt. John Cairo, Officer-In-Charge Brian Greenenwald and Officer Isaac Hamilton received certificates of appreciation last month for making 60 total arrests for driving under the influence last year.

St. Mary welcomes new deacon

Riverside resident at St. Mary Catholic Church parishioner Peter Brown was one of 27 men ordained Sept. 26 by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich as permanent deacons following their completion of a four-year program to prepare them for their roles proclaiming the Gospel, leading intercessions, preaching, preparing the altar, celebrating baptisms, conducting wake and funeral services and more.

Brown has been a Riverside resident since 1999 and has served at St. Mary’s as a religious education instructor and Eucharistic minister through the years as well as participating in parish life with his wife, Michelle Brown, and three children in many other capacities.

He works as a school administrator in Downers Grove.


Welcome aboard 

Hitzeman Funeral Home in Brookfield recently announced that Scott Sichta has joined its team.

Sichta started in the funeral industry in 2002, working in the private and corporate realms throughout his career. He graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and was a classmate of Chuck Hitzeman.

“He will be an asset to our family funeral home, providing our families with compassion and experience during pre-arrangement and arrangement consultations, visitations and funeral services,” Hitzeman said in a press release. 

Sichta, who is married and has two children, is a lifelong Joliet resident who graduated from Joliet Catholic Academy. He is a certified crematory operator and a past member of Rotary International.


On campus

Erin Engstrom, of Brookfield, graduated from Ripon (Wisconsin) College following the 2019-20 school year. Engstrom, a biology major, is the daughter of James and Joan Engstrom.

Riverside resident Richard Hertogs was named to the 2020 summer semester dean’s list at the Des Moines Area Community College for attaining a semester grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4-point scale.

Several Brookfield residents were among the 451 Lyons Township High School students named Advanced Placement Scholars in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement program exams in May, earning them college credit, advanced placement or both.

Named National AP Scholars for achieving a grade of 4 (out of 5) on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more exams were August Duwell and Cameron Trimborn.

Named AP Scholars with Distinction (avg. grade 3.5/at least 3 on five exams) were Christopher Cordero and Benjamin Mathis.

Named an AP Scholar with Honors (avg. grade of 3.25/at least 3 on four exams) were Aileen Flores, Vladimir Krstov and Melaina Muth.

Named AP Scholars for completing three or more exams with a score of 3 or above were Ahmad Ayyeh, Abigail Church, Jordan Crespo, Jocelyn Liddell, Melanie Ocampo, Xavier Rios, Selah Rodriguez and Lazar Stevlic.

Among those listed as October 2020 Students of the Month at Lyons Township High School were three Brookfield residents, including senior Ahmad Ayyeh (AP psychology), junior Alexander Ledajaks (car care essentials) and senior Dylan Skrypek (adventure education).