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Community Pulse: Morris District 54 students working to warm hearts

Shannon Dudek
Shannon Dudek

As the school year moves toward the holiday season, it’s refreshing to reflect on all of the great things happening at Morris 54.

The consolidation of White Oak Elementary and Shabbona Middle School has been nothing but a complete success. Our students and staff are able to thrive as one district under one roof.

On a daily basis, I observe the interactions between all members of the Morris 54 family, and I couldn’t be prouder of their desire to learn and grow as one Morris 54 family.

Over the past few months, we’ve been able to enhance and improve our school district, without burdening the taxpayers of Morris 54.

Recently, we’ve completed or nearly finished three building
improvements that will greatly
improve and protect everyone at Morris 54. We have added 53 parking spots, added a new protective, seal coating to the roof, and installed a state-of-the-art security system to protect and monitor the school building.

All of these improvements are at White Oak Elementary, and they have been funded without burdening the Morris 54 taxpayers with additional taxes. The funds to complete the projects are a result of additional revenue from alternate revenue bonds issued during the summer.

We also have great things happening with our students in the school. Eighth-grade students had a great opportunity to visit Morris High School for GAVC’s Career Fair.

Morris Hospital’s cardiology and radiation departments, Grainger, IBEW Local No. 176, Joliet Junior College, and the American Red Cross were just a few of the many area businesses and organizations partaking in the fair.

Students were excited to learn about and even experiment in the different fields promoted. GAVC students were also there to explain to students about the many programs that the center offers to area high schools.

Sixth-grade students volunteered their time at Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit organization that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children all over the world.

Our students hand-packed meals for two hours and were told at the end of their time that they packed 122 boxes and provided 26,352 meals! This was enough for 72 malnourished children to be fed for a whole year.

The children learned an important life lesson while having fun.

I recently participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the JJC Morris Education Center, currently located on the west side of the former Shabbona Middle School.

The Morris Education Center currently occupies about 5,000 square feet and includes a resource area for job seekers, three classrooms, computer labs, and tutoring and testing space.  

Grundy Workforce Services is housed in the space as well.  The center serves about 300 students a year from the western portion of the college’s district.

All of these tremendous activities wouldn’t be successful without the support and dedication of the Morris community.

I routinely observe the support the community provides to members of the Morris 54 family, and I continue to look forward to what the future has for us. 

All of us at Morris 54 want to wish you a happy holiday.

• Shannon Dudek is the superintendent of Morris School District 54. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.

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