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updated: 9/11/2017 8:25 AM

Poetry prize winner credits Fremd teachers for encouraging love of writing

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  • Palatine native Faisal Mohyuddin won the 2017 Sexton Prize for poetry for his collection "The Displaced Children of Displaced Children," which centers around his family's experience emigrating from Pakistan to the suburbs.

    Palatine native Faisal Mohyuddin won the 2017 Sexton Prize for poetry for his collection "The Displaced Children of Displaced Children," which centers around his family's experience emigrating from Pakistan to the suburbs.
    Photo Courtesy Faisal Mohyuddin

  • Mike Amrozowicz of Gurnee says it's up to Illinois Republicans to pay a campaign worker.

    Mike Amrozowicz of Gurnee says it's up to Illinois Republicans to pay a campaign worker.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Rolling Meadows native Faisal Mohyuddin -- the recipient of a leading United Kingdom poetry book prize -- says he'll "for the rest of my life be grateful" to his former English teachers at William Fremd High School who encouraged a love of writing in him.

"Just keep a notebook and whenever you have a thought, jot it down," Mohyuddin recalls being taught.

Mohyuddin, now 39 and an English teacher himself at Highland Park High School, has been writing for more than two decades but says he was still blown away by the news that he'd won the 2017 Sexton Prize for his debut collection, "The Displaced Children of Displaced Children."

It's a work that's intimately personal for Mohyuddin, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan.

"I looked at what my parents, my relatives lived through," he says. "As a descendant of these people, it's part of my identity. I looked at how that gives me guidance, strength and a sense of confusion."

The book, he says, centers around "knowing you may never find a place" -- a mindset he says was experienced by his late father, Mohammad. "I'm not sure my dad ever found a moment of (peace) in his life, except for his children," he said.

Changing lanes

I didn't know this until we connected for the interview, but Mohyuddin spent a year at the Daily Herald 17 years ago. As it turns out, he had the same editor I did as a cub reporter, though years apart.

Congratulations to Mohyuddin.

Pay day

Miles Mrowiec, a 19-year-old college student from Gurnee, might be getting the $750 he says he's due from the Illinois GOP.

I heard of the saga last week, after Mrowiec enlisted attorney Neil Geitner of Gurnee in his attempt to claim the money he says he was promised for working on the campaign of Gurnee Republican candidate Mike Amrozowicz.

Geitner said Mrowiec was hired for a month to turn out young voters for Amrozowicz, who was defeated by Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake last November.

Amrozowicz said it was the Illinois Republican Party that hired Mrowiec to do outreach on a number of campaigns. State party officials told me on Sunday they plan to pay Mrowiec the $750 and "make him whole."

Easier breast-feeding at school

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law aimed at making breast-feeding easier for student moms, teachers and staffers on public school campuses.

The law, which goes into effect in January, requires public schools to provide a room with an electrical outlet for nursing mothers, other than a bathroom. Schools, furthermore, are prohibited from penalizing students from missing classes because they're nursing or expressing milk. At Elgin Area School District U-46, spokeswoman Mary Fergus tells me administrators are drafting a policy for the board to review later this year.

Programmed pets

Robotic dogs and cats in Lombard are bringing joy to people with dementia, according to officials at Beacon Hill senior living community. The furry friends look, act and feel like real pets and help with social and communication skills.

"We gave one of the robotic dogs to a woman here in the health center who has dementia and really never spoke much," health care administrator Jim Standish said. "The robodog changed everything. She named it after a pet she'd had earlier in life and began talking and expressing herself. It was like a small miracle."

Officials at LifeSpace Communities, which owns and operates Beacon Hill, say they plan to purchase even more "robopups" and "robokittens" in the months to come.

Potluck for Peace draws 200

The Rev. Father Corey Brost tells me more than 200 Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and Christians dined together at the interfaith Children of Abraham Coalition's sixth 9/11 Potluck for Peace last Wednesday at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights.

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