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Jillian at events
Congratulations, Jillian Angell! Three more Special Olympic Golds to add to the collection!

Jillian Angell is, without a doubt, a local Special Olympics hero. Since her debut as a Special Olympian, Jillian has averaged 10-15 medals a year. “She’s got about 50-60 Special Olympics medals in total,” stated proud father, Bill Angell. “She’s recently been taking gold in power lifting, but she has gold and silver medals in basketball, softball, swimming, volleyball and track & field. Jillian is not just a lifter, she’s an athlete.” 

In the opening weekend of Special Olympics of Illinois, Jillian Angell took home 3 more gold medals for bench press, dead lift, and overall combined total. It’s not hard to see why so many people rally around the young athlete. Outside of the magnetic smile and collection of Olympic medals, Jillian is one of the only athletes to lead the procession at each and every SOIL fundraiser held by the Chicago Heights Police Department. If one were to look at the group participating in the Polar Plunge, the Torch Run, or Cop on Rooftop; Jillian is there greeting fans and lending a hand.

"There are things we may take for granted when it comes to connecting with people or building relationships or building self-confidence," Bill Angell said. "I think she’s learned a lot of those things from Special Olympics. Both in competition and out."

As much as Jillian has learned from her affiliation with the Special Olympics of Illinois, we may have learned more from her. Her perseverance should remind us all of the Special Olympics Athlete's Oath.

"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM


Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM, 401 Concord Drive, Chicago Heights, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new atrium, greenhouse and Horticulture Education Center at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23.

The greenhouse and Horticulture Center will serve as a place for learning for students as well as a place to grow plants and vegetables. Students visited the Chicago Garden and Flower Show this spring and surveyed various nurseries to learn what flowers and vegetables are popular in this area. Students are designing experiments based on the needs of the plants and what enhances growth.

Images from the Event

Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM  

Greenhouse and Horticulture Education Center 
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

STEM Greenhouse 2
2Tower Garden

Barack Obama School students with one of the tower gardens that grows lettuce. The tower gardens provide a flow of nutrients and water to the plants.

Barack Obama School student Aubrey Butler sang the National Anthem at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Aubrey Butler singing National Anthem
Aubrey Butler Carlos Parker Inez Thayer
Aubrey Butler, left, and Carlos Parker showed visitor Inez Thayer around the new greenhouse at Barack Obama School.

Students welcomed visitors to Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM.

Haku Watson Nysa Nunekpeku Grant Durham in front of BarackO
ribbon cutting

Board of Education Secretary Walter Mosby, from left, Board Vice President Allison McCray, Board Member Jacqueline Jordan, Board President Lance L. Jefferson, Superintendent Joyce Carmine, Board Member Margaret McDannel, and former Board Member Melvin Pumphrey cut the ribbon  during ceremonies for the new greenhouse at Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM.

Board of Education Secretary Walter Mosby receives lettuce that was grown in tower gardens at Barack Obama School.

Mr. Mosby with Aubrey Butler giving lettuce