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posted: 6/12/2014 7:35 AM

CHIPs Students Become a Part of Des Plaines History

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  • Reverend Dr. William G. Grice III reads from 1929 The Centralite student newspaper he donated to the History Center in the name of the 2013/2014 Central School CHIPs students.Lisa Haring

      Reverend Dr. William G. Grice III reads from 1929 The Centralite student newspaper he donated to the History Center in the name of the 2013/2014 Central School CHIPs students.Lisa Haring

Lisa Haring

Reverend Dr. William G. Grice III donated an original January 1929 edition of "The Centralite" to the Des Plaines History Center on June 5, 2014 in honor of the six 2013/2014 CHIPs students and their teacher, who researched historical information about Des Plaines and disseminated the facts in plastic Easter eggs at the 2014 Park District Egg Hunt. Grice's mother, Dorothy Ahbe, was a contributor and editor for the Central School Student newspaper. Her "Lost and Found" article appears in the edition. Ahbe was in eighth grade at that time, and Central School was located at the southwest corner of Thacker Street and Center Street. "From an historical perspective, "The Centralite" is a primary document of history because it provides a written record of life at Central School in 1929," Grice said. "Names of several 'pioneer families' and early settlers of Des Plaines are among the last names of the students mentioned in the paper."

The original school newspaper and a letter written by Grice to the CHIPs students were presented to Philip Mohr, curator for the Des Plaines History Center, at Grice's home during an end-of-the year celebration. Each of the six students: Rohan Balchandani, Eleanor Bechtold, Cory Cordier, Nell Jakoniuk, Emily Kulaga, Rose Kurutz, and Leigh Radnitzer, Library Media Center Specialist and CHIPs Instructor, signed the letter. Photocopies of "The Centralite" were presented to each of the students, Radnitzer, and Central School to keep in its archives. "The students have researched and studied Des Plaines history, presented their findings, shared their information with the community, and now are a part of that history. In fifty years, when someone examines these documents they will find the names of our Central School students and know how they helped to craft their own piece of history in their hometown," said Radnitzer.

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After a pizza lunch and some playtime with antique toys, Mohr taught the students to play nine-wicket croquet in Central Park. A champion player in his family, Mohr jumped into the game when all of the six students hit the first stake. Although Balchandani won the game, followed by Cordier, Mohr came in third place ahead of the girls. "Working with Dr. Grice, and our community partners has been an amazing experience for the students. We hope to incorporate this project into next year's curriculum," said Radnitzer.

The Des Plaines History Center is located at 781 Pearson Street and is open

Tuesday–Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm, and Sunday, 1:00pm-5:00pm. Information about Afternoon Adventures, Historic Adventures, Coffee Talks, and the History Center's unique Traveling Trunks for use in classroom or group education settings, visit For information about classes, programs, and events at the Des Plaines Park District visit

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