taking learning personally

The intent of this blog is to provide a format for various members of the Elgin Academy community to showcase our unique learning environment. We hope you enjoy these stories.

Notes From the Hill - College Myths Featuring College Counselor Dan Raffety
Bonita Goist


Welcome to the latest episode of Elgin Academy's podcast Notes from the Hill.  Today's podcast addresses several myths of the college application process.  Elgin Academy's own Dan Raffety, College Counselor, dispels the myths and gives hope that getting into college doesn't have to be scary.  In fact, it can actually be fun!


Past Blog Posts

Lynn Martin

The following awards were announced at the Upper School Honors Convocation on May 31, 2019. Congratulations to all our award winners and their families.


Excellence in English - Muskaan Siddique, Lauryn Yost
Excellence in U.S. History - Carter Ray
Excellence in Social Studies - Muskaan Siddique
Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award in Humanities and Social Studies - Caelinn Leahy


Illinois Junior Classical League Convention Awards

Level II  - Sophie Shanae Gould Dulabaum, Delaney Reimer, Alexander Sept, Kiyara Suvagia,
Level V - Katherine Peak, Leeann Rao, Madelaine Williams-Larson

National Latin Exam
Gold Medal, Summa Cum Laude - Sophie Shanae Gould Dulabaum, Delaney Reimer
Magna Cum Laude - Ismael Domin, Brianna Suchyta, Kiyara Suvagia
Cum Laude - Taylor Bundrant, Nikiel Karna, Alexander Sept, Nira Suvagia

NJCL Latin Honor Society - Ismael Domin, Sophie Shanae Gould Dulabaum, Ashley Gordon, Caelinn Leahy, Katherine Peak, Leeann Rao, Delaney Reimer, Emma Smiley, Nira Suvagia, Madelaine Williams-Larson

Excellence in Latin - Leeann Rao


National French Exam
National Gold Medal - Fiona Boborci, Noelle Brown
National Bronze Medal - Madigan Boborci, Aaron Kirk, Kendall Milone, Kayla Kluber, Jaden Tabak
Honorable Mention Jennifer Goddard, Danielle LaVigne, Claire Noland, Elizabeth Sporina

French National Honor Society
2016 Inductees - Madigan Boborci, Muskaan Siddique
2017 Inductees - Elizabeth Sporina, Jaden Tabak
2018 Inductees - John Arnold, Jennifer Goddard, Hareem Rauf
2019 Inductees - Fiona Boborci, Noelle Brown, Kendall Milone, Leela Prodhan

Excellence in French - Madigan Boborci

National Spanish Exam

Gold - Claire Noland
Silver - Oscar Garcia
Bronze - Kaila Alfaro, Shiraz Baxamusa, Christopher Kademoglou
Honorable Mention - Kristen Das, Theodore Ellis, Thomas Guyett Jr, Haolin Liu, Kristyanna Mordini, Neal Shyamani, Johnathan Vogt, Carter Woltz

Spanish National Honor Society
2017 Inductees - Neha Karna
2018 Inductees - Caelinn Leahy, Arman Pabani, Raphae Sami
2019 Inductees - Samuel Nathan Basa, Madeline Beauchamp, Vansh Haridas, Christopher Kademoglou, Ryan Marusich, Kristyanna Mordini, Neal Shyamani, Anna Wittmeyer, John Yavari, Reece Zonts


International Thespian Society
2016 Inductees - Madigan Boborci, Leeann Rao
2017 Inductees - Ethan Moore, Muskaan Siddique, Jaden Tabak
2018 Inductees - John Arnold, Vansh Haridas, Katia Horn, Christopher Kademoglou, Charlene LaVigne, Danielle LaVigne, Aaron Kirk, Claire Noland, Katherine Peak, Nia Pegues, Emma Smiley, Lauryn Yost
2019 Inductees - Noelle Brown, Kristen Das, Seana Gould Dulabaum, Sophie Shanae Gould Dulabaum, Oscar Garcia, Kristyanna Mordini, Lucas Muffitt, Shreya Sai, Alexander Sept
Honor Thespian - Ethan Moore, Jaden Tabak

Excellence in Theater - Madigan Boborci, Muskaan Siddique

Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology - Christopher Perez

Jane Pelton Excellence in Art Award - Kristina Beligratis, Yumei (Candace) Feng


Frank H. Limacher Mathematics Award - Katherine Peak
Excellence in Mathematics - Haolin Liu
Bausch and Lomb Science Award - Jaden Tabak
Excellence in Science - Haolin Liu
Excellence in Computer Science - Neha Karna


Male Athlete of the Year - Colin Konicek
Female Athlete of the Year - Renée Scimeca
Iron Man Award - John E. Peak III, Katherine Peak, Renée Scimeca
Elgin Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship - Colin Konicek


Presidential Awards for Outstanding Academic Excellence
Madigan Boborci, Yumei (Candace) Feng, Neha Karna, Haolin Liu, Katherine Peak, Leeann Rao, Muskaan Siddique, Haoran (Henry) Wang, Lauryn Yost
Presidential Awards for Outstanding Academic Achievement
Kristina Beligratis, Adam Cerny

Advanced Placement Awards
AP Scholar with Distinction - Madigan Boborci, Neha Karna
AP Scholar with Honor - Yumei (Candace) Feng, Haolin Liu, John E. Peak III,
AP Scholar - Tianyi (Roger) Chu, Katherine Peak, Leeann Rao, Haoran (Henry) Wang, Madelaine Williams-Larson

Illinois State Scholars Kristina Beligratis, Madigan Boborci, Neha Karna, Ethan Martin, Leeann Rao

Daily Herald Leadership Awards
Community Service - Neha Karna (honorable mention), Derek Warren (honorable mention)
Academic Excellence - Madigan Boborci (honorable mention), Neha Karna (honorable mention)

Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Team - Third Place State Team
4th Place Biology - Madigan Boborci
2nd Place Chemistry - Yumei (Candace) Feng
2nd Place Computer Science - Neha Karna
3rd Place Computer Science - Joseph Hargrave
3rd Place Computer Science - Haolin Liu, Ethan Moore
2nd Place Mathematics -  Neha Karna
3rd Place Mathematics - Haolin Liu

Scholastic Bowl Team -  Shiraz Baxamusa, Taylor Bundrant, Ismael Domin, Theodore Ellis, Thomas Guyett Jr, Joseph Hargrave,
Danielle LaVigne, Ethan Moore, Anjan Parepally, Alexander Sept, Jaden Tabak, Johnathan Vogt

Model UN Delegates - Cameron Agno, Jacob Atkins, Seth Cisneros, Pierson Gonzalez, Thomas Guyett Jr, Aaron Kirk, Ryan Knight, Caelinn Leahy, Ryan Marusich, Arman Pabani, Anjan Parepally, Anthony Perez, Christopher Perez, Lauren Rana, Carter Ray, Connor Reece, Alexander Richardson, Gavin Richetti, Danyaal Sami, Raphae Sami, Neal Shyamani, Johnathan Vogt, Dufei (Ferris) Wang, Zijia (Michael) Xu

Quill and Scroll - Yumei (Candace) Feng, Vansh Haridas, Zoe Jacobson, Danielle LaVigne, Caelinn Leahy, Claire Noland, Hareem Rauf, Muskaan Siddique, Nira Suvagia, Noah Townsend

National Honor Society
2017 Inductees Madigan Boborci, Neha Karna, Muskaan Siddique
2018 Inductees Cameron Agno, Yumei (Candace) Feng, Ashley Gordon, Danielle LaVigne, Caelinn Leahy, Claire Noland, Arman Pabani, John E. Peak III, Katherine Peak, Christopher Perez, Raphae Sami, Elizabeth Sporina, Jaden Tabak, Lauryn Yost
2019 Inductees Samuel Nathan Basa, Madeline Beauchamp, Vansh Haridas, Aaron Kirk, Ryan Marusich, Hareem Rauf, Reece Zonts

Sons of the American Revolution Award - Muskaan Siddique
Old Main Award - Madigan Boborci
Excellence in Community Service Award - Neha Karna, Derek Warren


Dartmouth College Book Award - Caelinn Leahy
St. John’s College Book Award - Danielle LaVigne
St. Lawrence University Book Award - Lauren Rana
University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders Award - Elizabeth Sporina

Cum Laude Society
Class of 2019 Elected as Juniors Madigan Boborci, Yumei (Candace) Feng, Neha Karna
Class of 2019 Elected as Seniors Haolin Liu, Muskaan Siddique
Class of 2020 Elected as Juniors Caelinn Leahy, Arman Pabani, Jaden Tabak

SALUTATORIAN Yumei (Candace) Feng


The following two awards were announced at Commencement on June 1, 2019. These two awards are given to the male and female graduates who best typify the ideals and character of Elgin Academy.



Lynn Martin

We salute our two retiring teachers, fourth grade teacher Donna Bolz and Upper School Spanish teacher Kathleen Rusniak!  Please enjoy reading their retirement summaries. You can also watch Head of School Seth Hanford's tribute to these two outstanding teachers.

Donna Bolz

After thirty years of teaching, eighteen of those years as an Elgin Academy fourth-grade teacher, Donna Bolz is retiring. She says it is time to find other avenues of joy - family, traveling, reading, golf, and volunteer and service work that will undoubtedly involve children. Ms. Bolz first came to Elgin Academy in 1991 as a parent. She signed on to be a substitute teacher and became active in the Elgin Academy Parent Association. She served a term as President of EAPA and was also an Extravaganza Chair. When the position of fourth grade teacher opened up in the Lower School in 2001, Ms. Bolz, a former fifth grade public school teacher, was already well vetted for the job, and she was hired for the position that she still holds today.

Ms. Bolz’s classroom was a place where memories were made. Students fondly recall special lunches, the wacky fun of Cruise Day where students figuratively set sail to an exotic location, the trip to the Illinois prairie that made history come alive, an overnight class trip to “the castle,” and a momentous closing program to celebrate “graduation” from Lower School. Ms. Bolz has also supervised many after-school activities for students during her tenure. Most recently she’s been helping Ms. Giebel with Lower School Chorus.

Ms. Bolz has a heart for service, and she has imparted that love to her students by involving them in service projects. Most notably, her fourth-graders have held bake sales every November to raise funds to buy holiday gifts for foster children in the DCFS Project Angel Tree Program. The seeds of compassion planted by Ms. Bolz in her students have produced scores of empathic students who are committed to continuing to serve others. Many of these students reconnected with Ms. Bolz as Upper School students when they participated in the US spring break service trip to either Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic or South Dakota. For sixteen years, Ms. Bolz has assisted her good friend US Spanish teacher Kathleen Rusinak in planning and chaperoning the annual service trip.

Ms. Bolz says she has enjoyed it all, especially the incredible and lasting relationships formed with students and parents. We will miss her passion for her students and their families, and we hope she will come back and visit often.

Read More about A Tribute to Retirees Donna Bolz and Kathleen Rusniak
Lynn Martin

Jim Kidston, Upper School Computer Science teacher and resident tech guru, was named the 2019 Kane County Private/Parochial Teacher of the Year at a banquet sponsored by the Regional Office of Education (ROE) on Friday, May 3, 2019. For the past 44 years, the ROE has held an award ceremony celebrating education in Kane County to recognize exceptionally skillful and dedicated individuals in any pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public or private school. In 2019, more than 40 Kane County educators were nominated.

To nominate Mr. Kidston for the award, Elgin Academy submitted to the ROE a scrapbook of documentation demonstrating his superior ability to inspire a love of learning in students, his commitment to professional growth, his distinction as a leader, and the active role he plays in school and community. Additionally, letters of recommendation were submitted attesting to the respect and admiration that students, parents, alumni, and colleagues have for Mr. Kidston.  We thought we'd share the nominating letter on the blog and two videos from the awards banquet on Friday, May 3, 2019.

Read More about Jim Kidston Named Kane County Private School Educator of the Year
Lynn Martin

Stone Soup is an old folk story in which three hungry soldiers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys. The story exists as a moral regarding the value of sharing and generosity.  It is an Elgin Academy tradition that every spring second graders perform a one-act musical play based on the story before an audience of Lower School students, parents, and invited guests.  The results are always delightful. 

Read More about What Kind of Soup? Stone Soup!