Good News Sunday: Two suburban educators win Golden Apple awards

  • Admiral Byrd School first-grade teacher Sara Magnafichi hugs her mom, Bonnie Magnafichi of Palatine, during the Golden Apple award presentation in Elk Grove Village.

    Admiral Byrd School first-grade teacher Sara Magnafichi hugs her mom, Bonnie Magnafichi of Palatine, during the Golden Apple award presentation in Elk Grove Village. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Pavan Venkatesh Pandurangi, a senior at Fremd High School in Palatine, is one of only three 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Illinois.

    Pavan Venkatesh Pandurangi, a senior at Fremd High School in Palatine, is one of only three 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Illinois.

  • Alyssa Kasiba and Justin Dorn of Elgin got engaged on the ABC dog grooming competition show "Pooch Perfect."

    Alyssa Kasiba and Justin Dorn of Elgin got engaged on the ABC dog grooming competition show "Pooch Perfect." Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted5/23/2021 7:32 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

Martin Da Costa received the surprise of a lifetime last week, and he got to share the moment with some of his favorite people -- his students.

 

Da Costa, principal of Winston Campus Junior High School in Palatine, was given the 2021 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership during a surprise celebration at the school.

Two days later, Golden Apple Foundation honored another suburban educator on Friday, rolling into Elk Grove Village to surprise Admiral Byrd School first-grade teacher Sara Magnafichi.

During an outdoor mask break with her students, Magnafichi was surprised by Golden Apple officials, Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 representatives, her family and the media, who charged the playground to present the award.

Da Costa was chosen as the winner from a record-setting field of 121 nominations reviewed by the Chicago-based Golden Apple Foundation. He will receive a cash award of $10,000 -- with $5,000 for himself and $5,000 to the school for a project of the his choosing.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Magnafichi, who received the Golden Apple for Excellence in Teaching Award, receives a $5,000 cash award and a sabbatical provided by Northwestern University at no cost.

For the full stories, click here and here.

Fremd High School senior named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar

A Fremd High School senior bound for Harvard University in the fall was named Thursday one of only three 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Illinois.

Pavan Venkatesh Pandurangi of Palatine, who plans to major in computer science at Harvard, believes it was his recent work in that field that made him stand out in consideration for the academic honor.

Pavan developed an algorithm that can help diagnose malaria. He thinks the challenges of the independent research required during the pandemic year were recognized as much as the successful outcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He credits Fremd computer science teacher Shannon Denna for helping him establish the connections he did ultimately find, as well as in developing his own home-based lab.

"I knew I wanted to do something health care based," Pavan said.

Fremd High School also has seen four other semifinalists in recent years -- Kristina Chen in 2019, Daniel Classon and James Feng in 2016, and Soumyaa Mazumader in 2015.

For the full story, click here.

Elgin couple get engaged on "Pooch Perfect"

It was the romantic gesture of childhood dreams.

Holding girlfriend Alyssa Kasiba's hands, Justin Dorn told her, "I know you wanted something very special and unforgettable and magical and storybook, and I wanted to give that to you."

With hands covered in doggy hair dye and standing on the "Dog Walk" stage on the set of the ABC network show "Pooch Perfect," Dorn asked Kasiba to marry him. People in dog costumes behind them cheered.

And so it was that on the same night they made the finals of the creative dog grooming competition show, the Elgin couple got engaged with a couple of million people watching at home on television.

The program, hosted by Rebel Wilson, started with 10 teams that competed in weekly challenges, with the season winner taking home a $100,000 prize.

Kasiba and Dorn made it to the top three in the show, but didn't take home the top prize. But they say they still feel like winners.

"(The engagement) was win on its own," Kasiba said. "The fact that I was there with him and that was the start of a new journey for us was just amazing."

For the full story, click here.

Vintage Rides car show cruising back into Wheaton in June

Ken Klein will recapture his youth and a summer tradition when he cruises into downtown Wheaton in his navy blue Oldsmobile convertible, top down.

He was one of the original organizers of classic car nights in Wheaton more than twenty years ago. Now, Klein and his 1975 Delta 88 Royale convertible are emerging out of pandemic hibernation to help revive the Vintage Rides car show.

"There's a lot of pent-up interest among the old car guys," Klein said.

The car show will move to the parking lot of Clare Woods Academy, a venue that will keep the event within walking distance of restaurants, provide ample room for social distancing and put a spotlight on the work of the Downtown Wheaton Association, organizers say.

Vintage Rides kicks off the season on June 4. Other car show dates are set for June 18, July 9 and 23, Aug. 6 and 20. The event is free to the public and $5 for car owners, who can register online at downtownwheaton.com. Registration for all dates will open up at 9 a.m. May 26. The DWA expects spots to fill up fast.

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.