Libertyville staff, students raise more than $17,000 to support teacher with cancer

  • Faculty and staff at Highland Middle School in Libertyville have their heads shaved as part of a fundraiser that raised $17,800 for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The fundraiser also showed support for French teacher Kerstin Cholewin, who was diagnosed with the disease.

    Faculty and staff at Highland Middle School in Libertyville have their heads shaved as part of a fundraiser that raised $17,800 for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The fundraiser also showed support for French teacher Kerstin Cholewin, who was diagnosed with the disease. Courtesy of Kim Hauman

 
 
Posted4/13/2022 6:00 AM

"I am the teacher with cancer" is how French teacher Kerstin Cholewin describes herself to people around Highland Middle School in Libertyville, but to her students she is simply Madame Cholewin.

Cholewin has had plenty of support from her school community since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the summer.

 
French teacher Kerstin Cholewin, standing, center, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, watches as student Isla Ellingson shaves teacher Holly Chapman's head. Isla also designed #TeamCholewin teal T-shirts, which were sold to raise money for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The Libertyville School District 70 community raised more than $17,800 for the foundation.
French teacher Kerstin Cholewin, standing, center, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, watches as student Isla Ellingson shaves teacher Holly Chapman's head. Isla also designed #TeamCholewin teal T-shirts, which were sold to raise money for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The Libertyville School District 70 community raised more than $17,800 for the foundation. - Courtesy of Kim Hauman

At a recent fundraiser, students from Libertyville School District 70 and Highland Middle School raised $17,800 for STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation through direct donations, T-shirt sales, and students who wanted to see their teachers' heads shaved.

French teacher Kerstin Cholewin, standing, left, narrates the hair cutting procedure as student Mary Minogue shaves teacher Rob Rajcevich's head during a recent fundraiser at Highland Middle School in Libertyville that raised $17,800 for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation.
French teacher Kerstin Cholewin, standing, left, narrates the hair cutting procedure as student Mary Minogue shaves teacher Rob Rajcevich's head during a recent fundraiser at Highland Middle School in Libertyville that raised $17,800 for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation. - Courtesy of Kim Hauman

In all, eight teachers volunteered to have their heads shaved to support Cholewin.

Cholewin, described by colleagues as bubbly, with a hardworking attitude, dons a different colored wig every Friday -- some purple, others rainbow colored -- to keep her students engaged, excited and interested about French language and culture.

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Libertyville's Highland Middle School principal Jon Hallmark cleans up teacher Shane Crown's new look after he put his head on the line to be part of the fundraiser for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation.
Libertyville's Highland Middle School principal Jon Hallmark cleans up teacher Shane Crown's new look after he put his head on the line to be part of the fundraiser for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation. - Courtesy of Kim Hauman

Sara Raymond, Spanish and world language department coordinator at Highland, describes Cholewin "as an integral part of the Libertyville community, being a graduate of Highland Middle School (herself)."

"She played a big part in the fundraiser and other activities at the school because it's her story to tell," Raymond said.

Highland Middle School teachers in Libertyville raised $17,800 for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation in support of colleague Kerstin Cholewin, center, who was diagnosed with the disease.
Highland Middle School teachers in Libertyville raised $17,800 for the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation in support of colleague Kerstin Cholewin, center, who was diagnosed with the disease. - Courtesy of Kim Hauman

Cholewin's response to the outpouring of love?

"I am humbled by the support that everyone has shown me this year," she said. "As one of my students said, 'No one fights alone.'"

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