Sara Schye Sechen

Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, has announced that Brookfield native Sara Schye Sechen was chosen by the Midwest Conference as one of its Centennial Top 100, celebrating the 100 greatest athletes in league history.

Schye, a 2010 inductee into the Lawrence Hall of Fame, is one of the most dominant softball pitchers in Midwest Conference history. The fireballing left-hander was a three-time Midwest Conference North Division Player of the Year and a two-time first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Great Lakes Region pick. 

She put together a record of 69-19 with a 1.40 earned run average and 576 strikeouts. Schye led Lawrence to MWC championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and NCAA Division III Tournament appearances in 1998 and 1999. During her four years with the Vikings, Lawrence had a record of 101-37.

Schye also holds Lawrence records for wins (69), strikeouts (576), strikeouts per innings pitched (1.03) and winning percentage (.784). She posted a shutout 39.7 percent of the time she started a game and had 26 starts with two or fewer hits allowed.

In addition, Schye holds season records for wins, strikeouts, strikeouts per innings pitched, fewest walks per innings pitched and shutouts. She also struck out a school-record 14 batters vs. UW-River Falls in 1998. 

Schye nearly pitched the Vikings to the 1998 NCAA Division III World Series as she fired back-to-back shutouts on the opening day of the regional tournament. Included in that was a 1-0 victory over No. 2-ranked Chapman University on its home field.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Lawrence and received a master’s degree from Concordia University in River Forest. Schye is a reading teacher at Monee Elementary School in Monee.


Natalie Starosta

Natalie Starosta, director of the North Riverside Public Library, has been elected to serve as a councilor-at-large for the American Library Association.

The ALA is governed by an elected council, which serves as its policy-making body, and executive board, which acts for the council in the administration of established policies and programs.

On campus

Riverside residents Jonathon Kulhanek and Patrick Walsh were among the more than 1,700 students receiving their degrees from the University of Tampa during a virtual commencement ceremony on May 8. Kulhanek graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology, while Walsh graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing.

Jacqueline Mendiola, of Brookfield, has graduated from Western Governors University with a Master of Science degree in nursing education. She participated in the nonprofit, fully online university’s commencement ceremony in February.

Desiree Valadez, of Brookfield, a student at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, in April was initiated into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

Brookfield resident Grace Knowski was among the 24 new members inducted into Millikin University’s Xi Sigma chapter of Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society, a business honor society. To be eligible, undergraduates must be at least a junior and have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4-point scale.

Jack Sagan, of Riverside, received the T.W. & H.B. Prins Endowed Memorial Scholarship and Ruth Hruska-Kelley, of Brookfield, received the Stan Ver Ploeg Family Scholarship and Journey Scholarship from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Abigail Freel, of Riverside, was named to the 2021 spring semester dean’s list at Belmont University in Nashville for attaining a semester grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4-point scale.

Brookfield resident Jill Lojas, a junior at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, was named to the school’s 2021 winter term dean’s list for attaining a grade-point average of at least 3.5.

Riverside resident Calvin Friend has been recognized as an Illinois State scholar by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, one of 13 seniors named as a state scholar at St. Laurence High School in Burbank. Students are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.

Paige Barnes, of Brookfield, was one of 33 students at Nazareth Academy’s Class of 2021 named Illinois State Scholars. Students are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.

Among those named Students of the Month for April at Lyons Township High School was Brookfield resident Nate Rulich, a junior, in AP Statistics. Students chosen for the awards are nominated by their teachers and selected by the various departments as the most exemplary students in each subject.

Brookfield residents Luke Alpe, Ahmad Ayyeh, Melania Muth, Owen Rand and Robert Wilson were among the seniors at Lyons Township High School earning Illinois State Scholar Awards. Students are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.

Three Brookfield residents were among the staff of the Lyons Township High School newspaper Lion scooping up awards in the statewide Illinois Journalism Education Association contests. The juried pieces were based on work published August 2020-January 2021. 

Junior Grace Moore won a first place award in Best Multimedia and third place in Alternative Storytelling; junior Abraham Morales placed first in Best Single-Page Story Package and third in Best Audio Journalism; and senior Adriana Serrano Matsumoto placed third in Best Two-Page Spread.