Last weekend, one of my favorite events of the year took place — the Good Neighbor Day Parade. In my 23 years living in Lansing, I have never missed a parade. Nearly every year I have had an opportunity to be in the parade with an organization or one of the kids’ schools or activities, but I’ve always opted for being a spectator.
I enjoy seeing all of the creativity that goes into following the year’s parade theme and seeing all of the participants walking. I’ve always enjoyed watching it alongside my kids and until my father-in-law passed away last spring, my in-laws had been with us to watch most years also.
Some years I have been doing interviews along the route to cover the event for the paper and some years I’ve worn the photographer hat shooting pictures of the people and the floats. One year I was asked to be a parade judge. No matter what hat I’ve worn or who I’ve been sitting next to, it’s always such a fun time when such community pride is displayed.
Here’s the list from the Chamber of Commerce of the winners, which were just announced:
1. Coolidge School
2. New Hope Church
3. St. Ann Church & School TIED with Lansing Copper Muggers
First Savings Bank of Hegewisch
1. Lester Crawl School
2. Lansing Public Library
3. Girl Scouts
1. Memorial Junior High School
2. T.F. South High School
3. Illiana Christian High School
1. First Reformed Church
2. Lansing Junior Women's Club
3. Beggars Pizza
1. Southlake County Agricultural Historical Society
2. Apple Dentistry
3. Knights of Columbus
1. Jack's Sports Bar and Eatery
2. Lansing Association for Community Events
3. Quik Scripts Pharmacy
Thornton High School celebrates Alumni Day
Last week I also had the opportunity to attend Alumni Day at my former high school, Thornton Township High School in Harvey. It was quite a fun blast from the past to walk the halls again and see former teachers.
The fifth annual Alumni Day/Hall of Fame event was organized by the Thornton Alumni Legacy Fund, a charitable organization created to help enhance current academic, vocational and extracurricular programs. Such funds and foundations are common with private schools, but for a public school to have such a successful group that is so greatly supported really speaks to the dedication of its graduates and the tradition and legacy of the school.
One thing that always strikes me as I walk into the building is how clean and well-maintained it is. I always marvel at the beautiful, thick, dark wood banisters on the stairways that surely don’t show their 115-year age. The floors always look freshly waxed. And there’s that familiar sight of the Abe Lincoln statue that was a popular meeting place between classes.
As part of the day 18 former students and staff were inducted into the Thornton Hall of Fame. They ranged from a nationally renowned gospel singer to a Harvard-educated investment banker and philanthropist to the former mayor of Riverdale to an engineer of 16 patents including the StreetHawk light bar that is standard on police cars.
There’s never a shortage of nominees for the Hall of Fame as the school has had a long list of celebrities and athletes attend the school. Among them are NFL players, musicians, Olympians, actors, comedians and many more who have gone on to enjoy much success. The keynote speaker was Dr. Michael A. Thomas, a 1976 graduate who is the chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
The school carries on those high standards and traditions today. Several current students were involved in the Alumni Day celebration. The inductees were introduced by two award-winning speech team members, the band played the school’s fight song, cheerleaders and dance groups performed and I was escorted through the building by a young man named Devon, who is part of the leadership group called “A New Generation of Men.” The principal mentioned that the college attendance rate is close to 90 percent.
Since its inception in 2004, TALF has raised over $800,000 that has saved several extracurriculars and supplied equipment for everything from computer labs to choirs to wrestling to Special Olympics.
It was a great day and made me very proud to call myself a Thornton Wildcat.