Antioch Community High School
Visitors to Antioch Community High School might notice that each hallway bears a street sign dedicated to a particular teacher who helped to shape the Sequoit experience. As part of an ongoing series of stories honoring these exemplary teachers, our first look is at Rummel Way, found in the PE hallway.
Deb Rummel started at Antioch Community High School in 1982 teaching Physical Education and Health. Throughout her career, Deb was an active member of the state and national physical education associations (IAHPERD and AAHPERD). Deb presented with Carla Thompson at numerous conventions across the country to represent ACHS and talk about the amazing Physical Education and Health curriculum they taught. She was an officer for IAHPERD helping advocate for PE at the state level. Deb received the honor of NASPE Teacher of the Year in 2000.
After teaching for nineteen years Deb became the Department Chair where she led her department to continue to push fitness in their classes. During her ten years as Department Chair, she worked to create many facility improvements, which included developing plans for a new gym, redesigning space for a cardio/weight room, renovating the women’s locker room, and updating the weight room and dance room. Deb believed that if she surrounded herself with the right people in her department, they could work together to keep developing the curriculum. With passion for fitness, she found ways to encourage and empower staff and students to improve their overall health. One her greatest contributions to ACHS Physical Education was implementing a fitness-based curriculum and program.
Deb believed that Physical Education should be one of the core classes. Therefore, she pushed the importance of reading and writing and incorporated in into the PE curriculum. Deb taught Fit for Life up until the day she retired. With her energy and enthusiasm for fitness, you could see her leading her classes in Jazzercise, step, and weight strengthening workouts. She continued to model the importance of nutrition and exercise throughout her entire teaching career.
Upon retirement, Deb took her skills and knowledge to the college level where she became a professor at Carthage College. She continues to bring her students to Antioch Community High School to show them a “solid PE program” for which she laid the foundation. Deb was a devoted Sequoit for twenty-nine years and her nickname, “Speedy” will never be forgotten by those around her.
Antioch Community High School
In our continuing series dedicated to Sequoits who were guiding forces in our history, this month’s issue is dedicated to Stephen Wapon.
Mr. Wapon was an integral member of the Sequoit community between 1968 and 2000. He began his career here as a physical education teacher from 1968 to 1985 before becoming assistant principal between 1985 and 1993, earning the assistant principal of the year award from the State of Illinois in 1992. In 1993, Mr. Wapon became department chair for physical education, a post he would retain until 2000, when he left Antioch for Arizona.
Mr. Wapon was head coach of the football team from 1978 to 1987, during which time he led the team to three conference championships in 1979, 1982, and 1983, the last of which was an undefeated season.
In addition to football, Mr. Wapon also coached girl’s golf from 1993 to 2001, wrestling from 1968 to 1980, and softball in 1985 and from 1997 to 2000. Under his leadership the softball team became regional champions in 1985 and 1997.
According to Michael Gordy, who coached football and softball with Mr. Wapon, “Steve was always good about being honest with kids. He always thought that it was better to tell a young athlete what you genuinely saw as his or her strengths and weaknesses.” Mr. Wapon encouraged student athletes to find their niche by fostering a “team-first attitude” and working hard to improve their natural talents.
Social studies teacher Charlie Trout remembers his time working with Mr. Wapon fondly. He describes a supportive and engaging mentor with a light and witty sense of humor. “My favorite witty saying from Steve that I still use is ‘Thank you for coming to school today,’” wrote Trout. “Anytime somebody was complaining about something, Steve would say that. I still laugh every time I think about that.”
Mr. Wapon now lives in Fountain Hills, Arizona, but he still finds time to visit Antioch regularly; he even participated in our homecoming parade last fall, embodying the phrase “once a Sequoit, always a Sequoit.”
Antioch Community High School
Visitors to Antioch Community High School traveling up to the World Language Department will notice a street sign dedicated to a very special teacher, Sarah Menoni. Sarah was diagnosed with leukemia and lost her battle on January 5th, 2013 at the young age of 29. She was persistent and brave and did not let any hurdle stand in her way. Her courageous spirit continues to inspire those who knew her. Here is a look behind MENONI CT.
Sarah discovered her love for the Spanish language at the the University of Illinois and studied abroad in Granada, Spain before beginning her career at Antioch Community High School in 2006. Sarah taught Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Spanish 2 Honors and always strove to improve her practice by taking advantage of professional development opportunities. In addition, she contributed to the World Language Department by assisting in the development of curriculum maps, being highly involved with curriculum writing, and creating common assessments for the World Language Department. Sarah also served as a volunteer on the School Improvement Committee and was a Junior Class Sponsor, where she worked with the Junior Class Student Council members to raise funds for Prom and organized events like the Battle of the Bands and Variety Show. Sarah was always willing to go above and beyond in any capacity.
Sarah had such a love and talent for teaching. She came to work with a big smile each day, which was contagious to her students and co-workers alike. Sarah’s desire to help everyone was seen by always finding the good in everything. She taught with great energy and enthusiasm and developed an amazing rapport with students, which made them love being in her class. They endearingly referred to her as “señorita” and she taught with tremendous passion each day. She always found creative ways to engage her students and took great pride in their successes. Students remember her as fun, sincere, and engaging. Her commitment to her students was unshakable; she never missed a graduation ceremony or an opportunity to see her students reach a milestone. Her upbeat personality, positive attitude and enthusiasm for students are some of the qualities that made her an outstanding teacher.
Not only was she an inspiration to students, her dedication and positivity was an inspiration to her colleagues as well. Colleagues remember her as kind, thoughtful, collaborative, and respected by all who came in contact with her. She was well-liked, appreciated, and respected by everyone who knew her. Sarah had an eagerness to help in any situation and was remarkably selfless, never expecting anything in return. Her passion for the Spanish language lives on through the Sarah E Menoni Memorial Scholarship at the University of Illinois and through the countless students she impacted during her time at Antioch Community High School.
Antioch Community High School
Mr. Norm Hahn spent his entire teaching career in the Social Studies department at Antioch Community High School focusing on US History, International Relations, and Political Theory. Mr. Hahn’s students found him to be passionate about Social Studies and saw his big personality come out in his teaching style. ACHS graduate and current St. Charles North High School Social Studies teacher, Jeff Petersen, was lucky enough to have Mr. Hahn as a teacher. Petersen had this to say about Norm Hahn:
“Mr. Hahn was an incredibly knowledgeable, and incredibly enthusiastic teacher. Because of that knowledge and enthusiasm, he was able to make challenging concepts, from international diplomacy to Hugo Grotius, engaging, relevant, and easy to understand. The history of our world is a story that does not yet have an ending. Through his instruction, Mr. Hahn was able to pull students into that story and help them realize that rather than passively reading that story, they were living in it.
I now teach AP Human Geography. While I last sat in Mr. Hahn’s class 17 years ago, just two weeks ago when I was teaching about Geopolitical Power Theories, Halford Mackinder, Nicholas Spykman, and Alfred Thayer Mahan, I found myself quoting Mr. Hahn verbatim, with the same meter as I instructed my students. To this day, I can still see Mr. Hahn sitting on his desk, sharing that story, and having a great time.”
He also spent time as the head track and field coach and sophomore basketball coach. He was an advocate for students all across the county to participate in track and field events. Even after retiring from teaching, Mr. Hahn continued as the school’s athletic trainer, a fixture on the sidelines at ACHS sporting events. It was not uncommon for spectators to hear him supporting Sequoit student-athletes with his booming voice launching words of encouragement. His experience of over two decades negotiating contracts helped Norm to connect with other teachers through the teachers’ association.