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    Kewanee Schools


For over twenty years, the mission of the Foundation has been to strengthen the education and extra-curricular opportunities of district students by generating financial support and leadership through our alumni and community.

Since 1990, the Foundation has supported its mission by providing financial resources for:

  • new facilities,
  • educational materials,
  •   teacher training,
  • college scholarships,
  • community cultural events,
  •  landscaping and other projects that enhance the beauty and learning atmosphere of the district’s schools.

Please click HERE to access the "How You Can Help" section to find out the wide variety of ways in which you can be part of this very important mission!



The program began with senior choral students singing “You Raise Me Up.” Honor students giving speeches were salutatorian Hailee Talbot (titled “Aim High”) and valedictorians Kailey Komnick(“Break Out”), Cole Vickrey (“Desire Excellence”) and Tanner Arzola (“Be Brave”).

In accepting the graduating class, Supt. Dr. Chris Sullens noted some of the outstanding extracurricular and athletic accomplishments of class members, Kewanee School Board President Dan Nolan and Assistant Principal Chris Gustafson passed out the diplomas, and Principal Jamie Bryan announced the recipients of awards and scholarships.

Students receiving awards were: Alejandro Alejandre: Kewanee Park District Scholarship Tanner Arzola: Lions Club Plaque, Harriet McCarthy Math Scholarship, Robert L. Petersen Memorial Award Adee Athiyaman: Rodney Rogers Memorial Medical Arts Award Natalie Balunis: National School Choral Award Jack Breedlove: Joe Hill Memorial Award, Belle Alexander Dennis Scholarship, Zarvell Scholarship, Troy Bryner Agriculture-Mechanics Scholarship Kaitlynn Brown: St. Francis Alumnae Association Scholarship, Robert E. Breedlove Scholarship, Loraine Lambert Memorial Nursing Scholarship, Ruth and Edmond Beauprez Memorial Scholarship, Adam Lazar Memorial Scholarship Zachary Brown: David Hepner Football Memorial Award, Harriet McCarthy Math Scholarship, Brian P.

Murphy Memorial Scholarship, Bradley and Joanne Waugh Family Memorial Award, George Cernovich Auto Service Scholarship Anne Cone’: Louis Armstrong Jazz Award Evelyn Cortes: Robert A. Grabbe Memorial Award Jarrett Davis: Odd Fellows Plaque, Susan Smith Memorial Plaque, Matthew Scott Memorial Award McKenzie DeVilder: Kathryn L.

Kirley Memorial Scholarship, Bernie VanWassenhove-Johnson Scholarship Brandon Evans: Martin Rapczak and Rodney Rogers Memorial Patriotism Award Lillian Feeney: American Legion Post 31 Scholarship Freyd Guerrero: Grace Hepner Memorial Award, Dean L. Bates Scholarship, R. Lynn Saey Memorial Scholarship, Ken Sullens-James Golby Scholarship Antoinette Hall: Kewanee High School Theater Scholarship, Dr. Ronald Thompson Scholarship Ryan Hansen: Jerry Nell Memorial Award, Ken Fristad Memorial GolfScholarship Joshua Henkins: Mary Lee and H.T. Mercer Fine Arts Award, Margaret Ririe Memorial Award, Richard Mautino Memorial Government Service Learning Award, Hilding Beck Scholarship, Ken Fristad Memorial Golf Scholarship Hanna Holmes: Class of 1934 Memorial Scholarship Award, Dean L. Bates Scholarship Elizabeth Jamison: Mary Lee and H.T. Mercer Fine Arts Award, Chris R. Ketridge Memorial Journalism Award, Star Courier Journalism Award Colton Johnson: H.F. Brockman Memorial Athletic Award, Geoffrey R. Schmidt Memorial Scholarship Riley Jones: Industrial Ed Award and Galen and Mary Landis Award Ian Kelly: Robert A. Grabbe Memorial Award Kailey Komnick: Kiwanis Cup, Lions Club Plaque, John Phillip Sousa Band Award, Barry Lee Ensley Memorial Scholarship, Glidden Family Scholarship, Harriet McCarthy Math Scholarship, Kewanee High School Theater Scholarship Katy Kuchle: National Arion Foundation Award-Band, Woody Herman Jazz Award, Katie Woods Creative Spirit Award Alyssa Nanninga: Frank and Fannie Lay Kewanee High School Award Karina Nunez: National Arion Foundation Award-Choir Donovan Oliver Jr.: Frank and Fannie Lay Kewanee High School Award, Tom Blake Memorial Basketball Award, Dean L. Bates Scholarship, R. Lynn Saey Memorial Scholarship Alec Padilla: Geoffrey R. Schmidt Memorial Scholarship Mikayla Puskar: Hardt Family Memorial Scholarship Adrienne Ray: Family and Consumer Sciences Advisory Council Award, Dean L. Bates Scholarship Hailee Talbot: Elks Trophy, Hilding Beck Scholarship, Dean L. Bates Scholarship, Richard A. Ruzas Jr. Memorial Track Award, Harriet McCarthy Math Scholarship, Heidi L. Goodbar Memorial Art Scholarship, Anna L. Sheehan Memorial Scholarship Sara Timberlake: Laurence Horler Scholarship Rene Torres: Kewanee High School Class of 1975 Award Faith Turner: Chamber of Commerce Award, Bradley Wessels Memorial Award Quentin VanDeSampel: Doctor Smith Loyalty Award, Pauline Scott Memorial Award, Marvin Damron Memorial Scholarship Jordan VanMelkebeke: Dr. Robert Breedlove Memorial Athletics Scholarship Cole Vickrey: Lions Club Plaque, Dean L. Bates Scholarship, Masonic Lodge 159 Scholarship Shauri Vogt: Adela Wesebaum Award, Leo A. Saey Memorial Award Angel Wassell: Ethel C. Tillman Scholarship, Wayne and Hazel Zang Memorial Scholarship Andrew Welgat: DAR Good Citizen Award, Ken Fristad Memorial Golf Scholarship

Award winners at Kewanee High School commencement exercises included, seated from left, Evelyn Cortes, Jarrett Davis, Brandon Evans, Zach Brown, Tanner Arzola, Jack Breedlove, Alejandro Alejandre, Kaitlynn Brown, Lillian Feeney and Elizabeth Jamison. Standing are Andrew Welgat, Joshua Henkins, Mikayla Puskar, Colton Johnson, McKenzie DeVilder, Ian Kelly, Natalie Balunis, Ryan Hansen, Anna Cone’, Hanna Holmes and Katy Kuchle.


Also receiving awards were, seated from left, Adrienne Ray, Faith Turner, Quentin VanDeSampel, Cole Vickrey, Hailee Talbot, Donovan Oliver, Shauri Vogt, Jordan VanMelkebeke, Antoinette Hall and Sara Timberlake. Standing are Alyssa Nanninga, Alec Padilla, Riley Jones, Rene Torres, Kailey Komnick and Freyd Guerrero.


‘It’s been a long 71 years for KHS’

Kewanee baseball team beats Tremont 10-7 for program’s first regional title since 1945


Sports Editor, Star Courier

BRIMFIELD — Seniors Colton Johnson and Zach Brown were well aware of Kewanee’s postseason baseball drought entering Saturday’s Class 2A Brimfield Regional championship game.

The duo — aided by some clutch hitting from juniors Logan Bennison and Drake Charlett — led Kewanee to its first regional baseball title since 1945 with a 10-7 win over top-seeded Tremont.

“About 70-something years. It feels real nice,” Johnson said. “Words can’t even describe it.”

“It’s been a long 71 years for Kewanee High School. I’m glad we were the team to do it,” Brown said. “This is such a proud moment to have all of our fans here and all of our family being able to experience this with us. It’s a great feeling.”

Johnson survived one shaky inning as the Illinois State University recruit tossed a complete game 3-hitter with 16 strikeouts, and Brown cracked a threerun homer in Kewanee’s seven-run fifth inning that put the Boilers in front 10-2. While it seemed like icing on the cake at the time Brown took the ball out to the opposite field, his blast proved to be the margin of victory as the Turks didn’t go down without a fight.

With the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh and Tremont runners at second and third, Kewanee shortstop Quentin VanDeSampel gobbled up a grounder, bobbled it briefly on the transfer, but recovered in time to fire to Bennison at first for the game’s final out.

“I wanted this for this team all year,” Kewanee coach Eric Miner said. “Just like in the middle of this game, we have an inning like that every game and that’s why our record (13-15) is the way it is, but these guys are great. They didn’t give up.”

Kewanee entered the 11-team sub-sectional as the No. 8 seed, but Johnson stood tall on the mound and the offense hung double digits in two of the three wins to send the Boilers to the Class 2A Macomb Sectional.

Johnson threw a complete game in Kewanee’s regional-opening 124 win over ROWVA-Williamsfield, and delivered a masterful relief appearance in Thursday’s 4-3 semifinal upset of Farmington.

“He’s unbelievable,” Miner said of Johnson. “What he did this week — there’s a reason he’s going to Illinois State to pitch. He pitched like a champion today and he did it all week. He’s an incredible young man.”

The big lefty threw 17 innings in the three regional wins with 35 strikeouts and just eight hits allowed.

“I limited a lot of my throwing during practice and iced a lot,” Johnson said of preparing for the regional title pitching assignment. “I wanted to be fresh for this game. I felt really good coming into it and things worked out.”

Miner warmed up VanDeSampel in the seventh inning, but it was clear the regional championship was resting on the left arm of Johnson.

“Oh no, I’m not coming out,” Johnson said. “I waved him (Miner) off twice and told him to go back to the dugout. I wasn’t coming out.”

“He wasn’t going to let me take the ball,” Miner said.

And the result was a historymaking win for the Boiler baseball team. Next up for Kewanee is the sectional host, Macomb, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Phil Bradley Field.

“Did I expect it? I don’t know,” Miner said of winning the regional title, “but I’m sure glad I’m here. Obviously we have a few things to clean up, but we’re excited to still be playing.”


When Kewanee baseball fans reminisce about the team’s first regional title in 71 years, the fifth inning of Saturday’s tussle with Tremont is where the conversation will begin.

The Boilers carried a 3-2 lead into the top of the fifth. Kewanee jumped in front 3-0 as Cole Vickrey singled home Quentin VanDeSampel in the first inning and Logan Bennison cracked a two-run single in the third scoring Colton Johnson and Vickrey.

Johnson cruised through his first three innings with seven strikeouts and no hits allowed, but a couple of Boiler errors and Tremont’s first hit pulled the Turks within 3-2 after four innings.

The Boilers answered swiftly in the fifth.

Johnson and Vickrey started the inning with walks, and scored on Drake Charlett’s double to the gap in right center.

Bennison added another RBI single to stretch the lead to 6-2.

“The kid doesn’t get a lot of playing time, but when he does he makes the most of it,” Kewanee coach Eric Miner said of Bennison, who starts at first when Johnson is on the mound.

Bryce Nolan singled to put two Boilers on base, and VanDeSampel greeted a new Tremont pitcher with a ringing double to make it 7-2 Boilers.

Zach Brown followed with the game’s big blow, a three-run homer to right field that gave the Boilers a seemingly insurmountable 10-2 lead.

“Even though we were up, I knew we needed it and putting us up even more would really benefit us in the long run,” Brown said of his fourth homer of the season. “There was no other feeling like it. I was so jacked up.”

The Boilers exited the top of the fifth with the 102 bulge, and Johnson appeared poised to keep the margin right there as he fanned the first two Tremont hitters in the bottom half. But four walks, a two-run Tremont single and a two-run throwing error led to a five-run, two-out rally that pulled the Turks within 10-7.

“A few fielding mistakes and location on my part,” Johnson said of the fifth inning struggles.

Here’s the tale of the tape in the fifth inning: Kewanee — 11 batters came to the plate, five hits, two doubles, a three-run homer, two walks and seven runs.

Tremont — Nine batters came to the plate, seven after Johnson recorded the first two outs on strikeouts, four walks, two Kewanee errors, just one hit and five runs.

The Boilers put two runners on in both the sixth and seventh innings, but couldn’t build on the lead.

After Johnson struck out the first two Tremont batters in the bottom of the seventh, the Turks put runners on second and third with a walk and a double.

But Kewanee escaped with its first regional title in 71 years as VanDeSampel’s throw on a grounder short nipped the Tremont runner in a bang-bang play at first.




     Kewanee High School agriculture classes spent the final days of the school year helping the Kewanee Schools Foundation by planting 80 perennials in the Marjabelle Stewart Butterfly Garden east of the high school (top photo). The flowers will help feed and rejuvenate the Monarch butterfly and bee populations for pollination of agricultural crops. Plants included Salvia, Bee Balm, Cone Flowers, Daylily, Sedum and 14 other perennial plants. Shown planting the garden are Bryce Nolan and Jordan Hunt. Agriculture classes at KHS also planted the Farm-to-School Garden (above), part of the FFA chapter’s school farm. The members will work throughout the summer months to maintaining the garden, then pick and distribute the food to the Kewanee Food Pantry and, in the fall, to the school cafeteria. Shown planting are, from the left, Jessica German, Joe Westgerdes and Cristian Langlois.



Desire and dedication led Lance Thompson from the halls of Kewanee High School to the helm of a nuclear submarine and, recently, to recognition of his service at Wrigley Field.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed a resolution passed by the Chicago City Council declaring Friday, May 27, Commander Lance Thompson Day, which included an introduction before a Cubs game and a handshake from Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Thompson was promoted last month to captain after serving three years as the commander of the submarine USS Chicago, based at Guam. He was elevated to senior deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 15 which consists of four fast attack Los Angeles-class submarines, including the Chicago, all part of the Pacific Fleet.

It all began at Kewanee High School where teachers remember Lance “always wanted to be in the Navy.”

His senior year, 1987-88, he was president of the senior class and homecoming king.

That same year he was nominated by Cong. Lane Evans to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Md., but was not accepted. He then applied to the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs and was accepted, but there were no openings.

Undeterred, Thompson, with the support of his parents, Janice and Alvin, joined the Navy the August after graduation and worked his way up.

According to the Chicago City Council resolution presented by Alderman Thomas Tunney and passed May 18, then Commander Thompson attended Auburn University, where he majored in electrical engineering and graduated magna cum laude. He then was commissioned after attending Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., then received his masters in engineering management from Southern Methodist University.

His shore assignments included serving as a staff instructor for the S3G Nuclear Reactor Prototype Training Center in West Milton, N.Y. Thompson was selected for the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program. He also served as an analyst at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in cost assessment and program evaluation at the Pentagon.

His previous sea tours included assignments aboard three nuclear-powered subs — the USS Maine, where he served as damage control assistant and assistant weapons officer; the USS Rhode Island, where he was an engineer; and the USS Jefferson City, where he was executive officer.

He assumed command of the USS Chicago in September of 2013.

With a crew of approximately 170 sailors, the Chicago conducts a multitude of missions, according to the U.S. Navy website. Chicago is the first fast-attack submarine to be built with a vertical missile launch system, enabling strike mission capability. This allows the

Commander Lance Thompson and his wife, the former Missy Hadsall, are   shown with the fast-attack nuclear submarine U.S.S. Chicago, at Guam, where Thompson is stationed. He was commander of the sub for three years before being promoted this spring to captain and senior deputy commander of the submarine squadron at the naval base at Guam. Thompson is a 1988 graduate of Kewanee High School.

Navy to maintain a constant forward presence capable of strategic attacks.

Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing more than 7,000 tons when submerged, Chicago is one of the most advanced submarines in the world. It is capable of supporting a multitude of missions including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, antisubmarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare and strike and successfully completed its first mission vital to national security in 2015. Tours can last nearly a year.

In February, one of Indonesia’s top naval officers embarked on a day-long visit on the Chiccago “to build upon an already strong partnership between two nations.”

Rear Adm. S.H. Darwanto, Indonesian Eastern Fleet Commander, and two other Indonesian naval officers were hosted by Thompson and his superior officer, U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Grimes, commander, Submarine Squadron 15, and their staffs.

Lance is married to Melissa Hadsall, daughter of Mike and Jean Hadsall of Kewanee. They have two grown children, Ryan and Allison.

During the pregame ceremony at Wrigley Field, Capt. Thompson presented Joe Maddon with a commemorative coin.  On one side was the Chicago’s insignia. On the other was Thompson’s name, rank and gold star.

Lance’s parents said in their brief exchange on the field, Maddon asked their son what was the longest time his sub had been underwater without coming to the surface. Ninety-eight days was Thompson’s response.

According to the city council resolution, Thompson has served on teams that have been awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation four times, and the Battle Efficiency “E” Award six times.

Thompson’s 1988 yearbook entry also reveals he was inducted into the National Honor Society his junior year and was named an Illinois State Scholar his senior year. His majors were English, math, science and French. His minor was social studies.

He was a young man on the way and had an idea of where he wanted to go.

Following that vision and sticking with it has taken a small town boy farther than even he may have dreamed.


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