The 2017-18 school year is a milestone year for Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines, as it celebrates 25 years of excellence in gifted education. The 25th anniversary was commemorated during a special Homecoming Picnic, which took place at Science & Arts Academy Sunday, Sept. 10.
More than 600 guests were present at this event, including current and former students, parents, faculty, staff and board members, as well as local dignitaries, community leaders, friends and partners. Special guests included state Sen. Laura Murphy, Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney and Marisa Marton from the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, who joined Science & Arts Academy personnel in cutting the ribbon to officially kick off and commemorate the 25th anniversary celebration.
Also present was Susan Bartz Herrick, the daughter of SAA's founder, the late Helene Bartz. Bartz always believed in creating a school that uniquely served the needs of gifted learners. After much hard work and dedication, Bartz's dream became a reality when Science & Arts Academy first opened its doors in 1992. Over the years, SAA has continued to grow, thanks to a dedicated group of individuals who share Bartz's passion and vision.
Rooted in the tenets of academic challenge, artistic expression, and social/emotional growth, Science & Arts Academy has been a leader in gifted education for the past 25 years. The school currently serves 258 junior kindergarten through eighth-grade students from 68 ZIP codes throughout the Chicago area.
While at the picnic, Herrick reflected upon special memories of her mother during the early days of Science & Arts Academy.
"My mother's idea for Science and Arts Academy started on a day much different from this one; it was a cold January Chicago winter night. That night she kept talking about I.L.A.C. which stands for: I am Lovable And Capable. All children can have their I.L.A.C. stolen from them. But she said the gifted child gets their I.L.A.C. stolen faster and more profoundly, because of their heightened sensitivity, uneven development, perfectionism, and their curiosity for learning without an appropriate avenue for expression. There needed to be one more school to help children regain their I.L.A.C."
In addition to enjoying food, entertainment and special activities from the Wildbird Shack and River Trail Nature Center, homecoming picnic attendees also had the pleasure of taking a walk back in time through the last 25 years. A history wall was unveiled at the celebration, which tells the story of Science & Arts Academy throughout the past quarter century. Attendees also had the opportunity to view an eagle which was constructed out of the base of a beloved Baldcypress tree from the original school building.
Guests all enjoyed sharing special stories and memories that helped shape Science & Arts Academy into what it is today.
"May this 25th anniversary serve as a springboard for even greater opportunities for our students and our school in the next 25 years," shared Tim Costello, Science & Arts Academy Head of School.
For information about Science & Arts Academy, contact Mindy Hildebrandt at (847) 827-7880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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