56 Local Students Honored at Illinois Principal’s Association Annual John Ourth Breakfast – Shaw Local


Streator High School hosted the Starved Rock Region Illinois Principal John Ourth Association Student Recognition Breakfast on February 23.

The Staved Rock IPA dedicated this breakfast to the memory of John Ourth, who helped the Starved Rock Region of Illinois Principal’s Association launch the annual student recognition event. This annual event began in February 2007 with the encouragement and leadership of Ourth.

Ourth was the first guest speaker at the event which brought together principals, students and their families for positive character recognition of students. Ourth was born in Willoughby, Ohio on October 10, 1941, the son of Arnold John and Florence Sanford Ourth. He graduated from Nauvoo High School, Class of 1959. He received his bachelor’s degree from Graceland College, Lamoni in 1964 and his master’s degree from Western Illinois University in 1967. He began his teaching career in Willoughby, Ohio. He has taught and served as principal in several rural locations in Illinois, such as Media, Burnside, Ferris, and Carthage. He retired as principal of Oak Terrace School, Highwood, Illinois.

Ourth was a founding member of the Illinois Principals Association, serving as its president in 1976-77. He was co-founder of the IPA Professional Development Program and co-founder of the Coalition for Illinois High Schools. He served as the IPA’s Director of Field Services from 1993 to 2007. He has served as special advisor to numerous organizations, including the Illinois Board of Education, Illinois State Deans Association, Illinois Association of Administrators of Special Education and many others.

He was honored with the nomination of the IPA John Ourth Professional Development Fellowship. He served in a vital leadership role in the National Association of Elementary School Principals for many years and served as its president in 1980-81. He was a published author of teaching materials.

Tragically and unexpectedly, Ourth passed away in December 2007. IPA members remember him for his commitment to causes such as the IPA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Under his leadership, both organizations have grown into leading professional organizations offering member services as well as many opportunities for professional growth. He lived his life to the full extent of commitment, compassion and love for his students and their families.

The students who are honored at the annual breakfast possess the same traits that have made Ourth an outstanding leader and a role model for others. Students are recommended by their principals based on their character, citizenship, leadership skills, and scholarship, as well as the potential to make a difference in the world.

This year, 56 students from primary schools, colleges, colleges and high schools in the region were rewarded.

The guest speaker for the event was Matthew Seaton, former Superintendent of Streator High School and now Vice President of Business Services and Finance at Illinois Valley Community College. Breakfast was prepared and served by Arbor Management. Guitar and vocal entertainment was provided by Streator High School instructor Tom Edwards. The photographer was Janice Corrigan, community and alumni coordinator for Streator High School. Student award plaques were obtained through Josten’s. The picture holders were donated by Streator High School. Programs were printed and donated by Jenette Fruit, Earlville CUSD9.

Angie Merboth of Harding Grade School serves as regional manager of the Starved Rock band, with Joe Landers of Wallace Grade School serving as state manager. The board is made up of 10 members in total.

Students honored this year included: Madison Bedeker, Ransom Grade School; Emersyn Ledergerber, Office Valley Jr. High; Adam Johnson, Bureau Valley Secondary School; Vivian Lopez, DePue Unit School; Issac Yanez, DePue High School; Ursula Hauger, Deer Park School; Sophia Pyska, Dimmick Primary School; Isabella Harp, Earlville High School; Ava Offermann, Grand Ridge School; Victoria Ulrich, Hall High School; Zaydee Bucz, Harding Elementary School; Emma Slingsby, Ladd Primary School; Angela Bejarano, Allen Junior High; Wyatt Lundquist, LaMoille High School; Erick Sotelo, La Salle Lincoln Jr. High School; Cayden Fowler, North West Elementary School; Elia Becker, La Salle High School-Peru; Sydney Samek, Lostant School; Isabel Garkey, Marquette Academy; Julian Reagan, primary school in Marseille; London Jones, Mendota Lincoln School; Gracie Jean Botts, Northbrook School; Ella Wier, Midland Elementary School; Cai Lynn Day, Midland Middle School; Jasmine Henry, Midland Secondary School; Sailor Ernat, Oglesby Lincoln Elementary School; Ava Balestri, Oglesby Washington High School; Brock Loftus, Ohio High School; Jillian Anderson, Ohio Elementary School; Drake Hefner, Milton Pope Elementary School; Joshua Armstrong, central intermediary; Emersen Buck, Jefferson Elementary; Carsen Walker, Ottawa Lincoln Elementary; Sebastian Strow, McKinley Elementary; Lila Windy, Shepherd College; Joseph Ovanic, Ottawa Township High School; Rudy Dinges, Northview School; Ever McCormick, Parkside Middle School; Bryson Smith, Putnam County Elementary School; Jace Boedigheimer, Putnam County Elementary School; Jaden Trone, Putnam County High School; Brayden Zuniga, Putnam County High School; Rebekah Graman, Rutland Primary School; Miranda Araujo, Seneca High School; Evelyn Bryant, John F. Kennedy School; Joie Schmitt, Saint Michael Archangel school; Keira Knox, Centennial School, Hallie Klass, Kimes School; Iris England, Northlawn Junior High School; Lydia Schultz, Streator Township High School; Joey Patyk, Tonica Elementary School; Kendall Whiteaker, Serena College; Katlyn Baker, Serena High School; Makayla Henderson, Sheridan Elementary School; Lindy Dhuse, Wallace Grade School and Drew Depenbrok, Waltham Elementary School.

  • Send photos of honored John Ourth students to [email protected] by March 20 for future publication.

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