District 300 will reinforce its reputation as trailblazers today by becoming the first school district team in the United States to compete in the famed Tough Mudder.
A D300 group of 45 faculty, staff and board members from a wide variety of backgrounds and fitness levels will rely on each other to make it through the Tough Mudder's 12 miles of off-trail, mud-soaked running. But endurance won't be the team's biggest hurdle. The Tough Mudder is not a race but rather a challenge, including more than 20 slippery, hard-core obstacles with daunting names such as Everest, Boa Constrictor, Cage Crawl, Cliffhanger, Phoenix, and the Underwater Tunnel.
Superintendent Michael Bregy has participated in past Tough Mudders, and he saw the potential for the event to bring together D300 staff from all schools and job types. This December, he invited any interested staff and School Board members to form a "D300 Mud Studs" team. Over the past few months, team members from CMS to DMS to Hampshire have bonded through optional workouts on Saturday mornings.
"Our team theme is 'trust' – trust in each other and trust in yourself, " Dr. Bregy said. "Preparing for the Tough Mudder has already begun uniting our staff in a powerful way. I believe strongly that by the time we cross the finish line together this Saturday, we will be reminded of all that we have in common and what's possible when we work closely together. This is a team effort, and if I have to be the last one over the finish line, I will."
The district will capture the team's historic journey on film as a short documentary that will be released on YouTube the last week of school. Director of Communication Services is producing the video while also competing as a member of the Mud Studs team. Strupeck and Videographer Casey DeFauw have been filming some of the weekly training sessions this spring, as well as conducting interviews with several team members and following them into their classrooms and offices.
"Each team member has such a unique story to tell," Strupeck said. "Our team includes a cancer survivor, military veteran, and even a retiring teacher looking to cap her career on a high note. Some of our teammates are seasoned athletes, while others – including myself – are stretching themselves farther and harder than they ever have. But what they seem to all have in common is the desire to get out of their comfort zone and have an entirely unforgettable experience."
The D300 Mud Studs will cross the start line around 7:45 a.m. today at the Chicago Tough Mudder, held countryside at the Richmond Hunting Club in Richmond. Dozens of their family members, friends and colleagues will cheer them on as spectators. The event will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
Team members include:
• From the School Board: Board President Anne Miller
• From the Central Office: Superintendent Michael Bregy, Director of Communication Services Allison Strupeck, HR Administrative Assistant Chrissy Hoover, and Health Services Coordinator Sherrie Schmidt
• From Carpentersville Middle School: PE Teacher Erica Wiltberger
• From Dundee Middle School: Principal Joe Schumacher, Special Education Teacher Kim Duffey, Language Arts Teacher Nancy Garber, Math Teacher Michael Haase, and Art Teacher Natalie Shadel
• From Dundee-Crown High School: Associate Principal Chris Columbaro, Associate Principal Jeff Herb, and RtI Coach Piper Stratton
• From Hampshire Elementary School: First Grade Teachers Michelle Bannerman and Jennifer Nolan, and Special Education Teacher Stephanie Coen
• From Hampshire Middle School: Principal Kurt Rohlwing, Media Paraeducator Shari Young, PE Teacher Matthew Joslyn and PE Teacher Kaitlin Vida
• From Jacobs High School: Principal Ami Engel, Assistant Principal Deborah Stout, English Division Head Jenny Christian, Math Division Head Steve Shadel, Science Division Head Terry Stroh, Special Education Division Head Stacy Wilkinson, Tutor Center Coordinator / English Teacher Corinne Allison and Paraeducator Kim Kelley-Adamowicz
• From Lake in the Hills Elementary: 4th Grade Teachers Desiree Todd, Jennifer Wallace, and Cari Walters
• From Lakewood School: Explore/Technology Teacher Thomas Slater
• From Liberty Elementary: Principal Amanda Edwards and Assistant Principal John Gorby
• From Lincoln Prairie Elementary: PE Teacher Alan Thompson
• From Meadowdale Elementary: Principal Jack Melfi and Teacher Letisha Pena
• From Neubert Elementary: Special Education Teacher Pam Kowalczyk
• From Oak Ridge School: Teacher Jeff Holstein
• From Sleepy Hollow Elementary: Principal Jason Lentz, second Grade Teacher Randy Bruce, PE Teacher Rebecca Meyer
• From Wright Elementary: Principal Don Wicker and Special Education Teacher Tiara Boysen