Andrew Pride

MAY 4, 2022


May Newsletter

I am so excited to share the numerous distinctions of celebrations for this month. Victor J. Andrew High School was named Best High Schools in Illinois by U.S. News & World Report. We are also rated in the top 10% of the best schools in Illinois by! Thanks to the collective efforts of our students, parents, staff and community for making Andrew High School the very best!

And speaking of best, please join me in congratulating Thang Truong and Zaid Alqammaz, State Champions for the 1st ever IHSA eSports Smash Bros duo competition! Not only did we have the 1st place state winners but they also made history by partaking in the 1st ever IHSA competitive series! Also at the state level, we are excited to share that our Unified Special Olympics Team medaled in 4th place at IHSA. Furthermore, we had T-Bolts place in the top 10 SkillsUsa for culinary, auto and early childhood competitions. Our Wind Symphony reached the highest pinnacle by qualifying to perform at the Illinois SuperState concert band festival at the University of Illinois. Congratulations to all our students and their coaches and sponsors.

In May, we celebrate Asian American Heritage, Pacific Islander, and Mental Health Awareness Month. We also acknowledge that May includes Eid holiday for some T-Bolts. In keeping with our commitment of continued growth in learning about Equity, our Day of Understanding, will also occur this month. We are excited for the extended Advisory that will focus on topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

As we reflect on May (3 weeks remaining for seniors) feelings begin to stir about the end of the semester. We have plenty left to do and will reiterate the importance of finishing strong to our T-Bolts. We ask for your partnership in emphasizing the importance of finishing strong by having conversations with your son/daughter. Examples include: leaving earlier in the morning, avoiding the Dunkin/Starbucks lines to get to 1st hour sooner, making a commitment to attend all classes on time, and reviewing T-Bolt time interventions for areas of need.

With Semester Exams around the corner, many students are starting to further stress academically and emotionally. We encourage students to remember that we do have supports and interventions in place, in addition to their efforts, that will carry them through the semester. Please share my sentiments of attending review opportunities with teachers, signing up for help during T-Bolt Time, visiting The Center during lunches, taking deep breaths, visiting The Wellness Center, and celebrating whenever making progress.

For the Class of 2022, May events continue to generate anticipation and excitement, kicking off the month with Signing & Decision Week 2022-May 9-12. We can’t wait to hear about the Class of 2022's post secondary commitments and journeys! A pinnacle of the year is Senior Scholarship Night, where we further celebrate the monetary scholarships provided to our graduating seniors from the community and post secondary institutions. Lastly, graduation is on May 21st with rehearsal on Friday, May 20th.

We have many helpful decompressors this time of year. The return of AndrewFest will certainly generate happy smiles. Our Fine Arts are providing us two amazing concerts and an art show that will be a fun departure from end of year stress. Another positive outlet this time of year is watching our spring sports and activities.This month continues to showcase both our Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse, Baseball, Gymnastics, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Waterpolo, and Girls’ Soccer and Softball. Be sure to attend and cheer while you unwind at all the great happenings at VJA!

We are here to support and encourage all our T-Bolts as they get through the semester. This year has certainly been filled with challenges we couldn't have imagined; however, thanks to the dedication of our amazing staff, the resiliency of our students, and the commitment of our families, we will continue to come together and thrive as a school community. I am extremely proud of our community and the daily support you provide to our students and staff.

For thoughts, suggestions, and questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 342-5810 or

Follow us on Twitter @AndrewHS_d230 & @AbirOthman


Dr. Abir Othman


May 6 & 7: Relay for Life

May 11: Percussion Recital @ 7 p.m.

May 11 & 12: AndrewFest Celebration

May 13: AndrewFest Assembly

May 16, 17, 19: Senior Final Exams

May 19: Finale Choral Concert @ 7 p.m.

May 19: Athletic Boosters Meeting @ 7 p.m. in Room 220

May 20: Seniors' last day - cap, gown, and ticket pick up

May 21: Graduation / Class of 2022 (May 22 is the rain date)

May 24: Final Exams (Periods 4, 5, 6)

May 25: Final Exams (Periods 1, 8, 0)

May 26: Final Exams (Periods 3, 7, Make-Up Time)

May 26: School Board Meeting @ 6:30 p.m. at District Office


Greetings T-Bolt Nation,

As we all know, this has been a very unkind spring with a lot of rain, and little warmth! Even with that added adversity, our programs are still having some great results this spring season. Heading into the end of April, many of our programs are either competing or preparing for the conference championships and post-season. We wish all of our athletes and coaches the best of luck this upcoming month. Our varsity teams will all be on the road for the post-season outside of boys' lacrosse, who will be hosting the IHSA sectional the week of May 23rd. More information pertaining to dates and times for all post-season contests will be available on our 8to18 schedules page. As we head into the last month, we want to remind our community that you can find the link to summer camp registration on our website by clicking the Athletics tab from our homepage, then clicking the Summer Camp 2022 page tab on the left side of the screen. We are also working to open all programs up for registration on 8to18 for the 22-23 school year. We are working to have that site open to families by May 15th. It is important to know that summer camp registration is not through 8to18, but through our Revtrack system. Also, starting with the 22-23 school year, all sports physicals must be uploaded through our Laserfiche system, also linked on our athletic website. We look forward to what the next month brings, and wish our athletes best of luck, Go T-Bolts!


We have some great news in the Activities world. Andrew High School won the first-ever IHSA eSports Super Smash Bros Duos competition. Congratulations to Zaid Alqammaz and Thang Truong as the Duo's winner! We also want to congratulate Sara Damm for earning 3rd place in SkillsUSA Illinois for Early Childhood Education. Ryan Kolacki earned 5th place for Autos' and Eric Randall earned 5th place for Commercial Baking. Our Percussion band earned 5th place at the WGI World Championships in Ohio.

We would also like to congratulate the cast, musicians, crew, and staff for our Spring Musical Shrek!! It was an amazing upbeat show that did a great job of showing all of the talent we have at Andrew.

Cultural Connections Club held a Family Dinner event at the school during which we had iftar (dinner). The main objective of the event was to get the EL students involved in school activities. The activity was attended by about 250 people including the EL students, their parents, and a number of the school staff. Additionally, many local restaurants supported us by donating food and drinks. The students worked hard to prepare for the event. It was very successful and received positive feedback from the attendees. Going forward, this will be a yearly event for the EL students!

The VJA Robotics and Engineering Team had another successful year of building, programming, and competing. We won 1st place in the Sumo Survivor robotics event and 2nd place in the Pathfinder programming event at the 2022 SouthWorks Robotics and Engineering Olympics! For the 2nd year in a row, we hosted our own Sumo Survivor competition here at Andrew High School, and our two robots, Martin and Chatterbox, came in 1st and 2nd place out of 7 teams! Congratulations Hamzeh Adi, Ayaan Ahmad, Colin Andrews, Joey Arrigo, Eric Choi, Aiden Coleman, Joshua Danca, Jude Evans, Nour Farache, Wael Farache, Hamza Ihmud, Sean Kammerzell, Shane Klimas, Ryan Kolacki, Mitchell Martello, Arthur Mikrut, Steffan Miller, Alexander Montalvo, Abdul Nofal, Maria Perez, Rudy Ruelas, Michael Teneyuque, and Toni Vasile!

As we head toward the end of the year, we want to let everyone know that AndrewFest is back and will be held on May 11th, 12th, with the assembly on May 13th.


Greetings from the VJA English Department! We are in the midst of a rainy and gray spring, but we all are thinking about the summer that is right around the corner. Being the book nerds that we are, that means the chance for lots of summer reading. VJA students and families, we hope that, along with time on the beach, in the ballpark, and around the backyard bonfire, you all take some time to read this summer. Reading, like any other skill, needs to be practiced, but even more importantly summer is a great opportunity for students (and their families) to read for enjoyment and to explore topics of interest to them.

Love baseball? Sox fans will enjoy Sox legend Ron Kittle’s book Tales from the Chicago White Sox Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest White Sox Stories Ever Told. Cubs fans can relive the glory days of 2016 with Al Yellon’s A Season for the Ages: How the 2016 Chicago Cubs Brought a World Series Championship to the North Side.

Some of this summer’s films are based on mystery, action, and suspense novels that can be great summer reads: The Gray Man by Mark Greaney, part of a series of books featuring a former CIA operative and hired gun; Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, a coming of age story and mystery set in North Carolina in 1969; and Bullet Train, a Japanese thriller by Kotaro Isaka following a suspenseful train ride by five very focused assassins. If you prefer a little old-school horror, check out Stephen King’s 1975 horror novel Salem’s Lot, a vampire tale coming to HBO Max in the fall.

Finally, here is a list of titles that were favorites of Andrew students this year. We hope everyone has a wonderful summer, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall and hearing all about what you read!

Caged Warrior - A short, action-packed story about a teenage MMA fighter.

One of us is Lying - A murder mystery that inspired a show on Peacock. Five kids are in detention, and one of them ends up dead.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - This is the first book in an adventurous series - a futuristic society where people are too healthy (no one dies of natural causes). Two teens are being trained as Scythes to cull the population.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro - a dystopian novel set in the future in which the narrator is an Artificial Friend who is unsure if she can truly relate to humans.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett - a dark thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale.

One Two Three by Laurie Frankel - set in a small town where nothing changes until everything does; narrated by triplet sisters.

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner - A family is turned upside down by the return of a daughter who had been missing for twelve years.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - a YA fantasy novel and part of a series that fans of George R.R. Martin’s work will love.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune - a contemporary fantasy novel that has been described as “ contemporary fantasy that's "1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in.”

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - This title is more suitable for upperclassmen and would be a nice compliment/follow up to To Kill a Mockingbird.

Maid by Stephanie Land - Nonfiction and also the inspiration for the Netflix series of the same name; explores the reality of what it is like to work in service in America(again, more suitable for older readers).


The College/Career Connection newsletter provides updates from the VJA College & Career Center for students and families. Please click here to access May’s College/Career Connection newsletter. You may also access it via our website.

This month’s edition features:
  • FAFSA HS Graduation Requirement Reminder
  • D230 Works Information and Student Job Board
  • Class of 2022 Decision Week details
  • Schoolinks Tutorial Videos
  • Facts for First Gens: Information for first generation students and their families
  • and more!


The final months of the 2021-2022 school season have flown by. The VJA Winter Guard and Winter Percussion wrapped up their seasons on high notes. Both groups traveled to WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Guard finished with their record high score and Percussion finished in fifth place. Congratulations!

The Spring Musical, Shrek, was a huge hit. Bravo to all the talented student musicians, singers and actors of VJA.

On the music performance front, the VJA Wind Symphony had the amazing opportunity to play with the Hindsley Symphonic Band at the University of Illinois on April 27th at Krannert Hall. They also have been selected to perform at the 2022 Super State Festival at the University of Illinois on May 7th. Future concerts at VJA include the Finale Instrumental Concert on May 17th, and the Finale Choral Concert on May 19th, both at 7 pm. Please join us as we celebrate a year of music making here at Andrew High School.

Good luck to our Incendio Saxophone Trio, which is comprised of two VJA students, Alex Procajlo and Zach Solomon, and one Sandburg student, Emma Phillips. They will be competing at Fischoff at the University of Notre Dame on May 20th. They also have the incredible honor of being selected to perform at this year’s Midwest Clinic.

Can you believe we need to start planning for next season’s Marching Band? All incoming freshmen and returning members need to attend the 2022 Marching Band kick off meeting on Friday, May 13th at 7 pm in the Main Gym.

The Andrew Music Parent Board is pleased to announce next year’s officers: President – Melody Taboada, Vice President I – Nancy Evans, Vice President II – Jennifer Cunico, Treasurer – Tracy Procajlo, Secretary – Theresa Aron, and Fundraising Chair – John Miller. Meetings will resume in the fall. Have a wonderful summer!

Thank you and Eyes with Pride!!


We would like to congratulate Ms. Mattix and her entire staff and all the performers on another amazing variety show! We would also like to personally thank the variety show directors that are retiring this year for all their years of service. They continued to work with the show years after their own students graduated. We thank you and you will be missed. We welcome the new directors and look forward to a smooth transition with more amazing shows for years to come!

Last meeting we did pick our scholarship winners. We will be announcing our winners at the senior award night on May 11. The Athletic Booster Club will hand our (8) $1,000 scholarships to student athletes and (4) $500 scholarships to Variety Show participants. Our next Booster Club Meeting is Thursday May 19, 2022 at 7 pm in Room 220. We will have our annual elections at this meeting.

If you need information regarding spiritwear pick up, or would like to buy some of our stock, please contact our spiritwear director Peggy at We have the following openings for directors next year: Fall Concession Directors, Winter Concession Directors, and Spring Concession Directors. If you are interested in becoming a director please contact one of the officers.

We would like to thank all of our team reps throughout the year. We would also like to thank all the parents that have helped us with our various events. It is only with your help that we can continue to provide equipment and scholarships to our student athletes. You can donate as much time as your schedule will allow. We can only be successful because of the parent volunteers! Please contact Lesley at if you would like to be a part of this great group of parents!


Happy May from TPPO Everyone!

May is in full bloom for all you graduating seniors of 2022 and Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful Moms!

This month, TPPO will be awarding two random student's scholarships for $500.00 each. Mr. Dalton, the Activities Director, will do a random pick of TPPO member names that are seniors. The video of the draw will be posted on the TPPO website this week.

TPPO will be selling, “Bringing Back the Thunder Final Survival Exam Packs” starting May 2nd. Parents, you will be able to buy these online until May 11th. Please check out our website where you can purchase these for your students at $5.00 each. The Final Survival Exam Packs will be distributed on May 16th.

AndrewFest will be on May 11th and 12th. Please stop by the TPPO table and purchase Dippin Dot Ice Cream cup and Popcorn to enjoy this wonderful time celebrating the end of the School Year!! All contributions go towards 2023 Scholarships.

Since this is the final newsletter of the year, we would like to remind you all to join TPPO when school starts up for 2023.

Thank you to all the parents that have helped volunteer this year, and students who have helped out to make the TPPO a great success for 2022!! We did an awesome job and we are going to have a even better year for 2023!

Thank you to all the parents and staff that have helped made this year a great success! We hope that you have a great summer and we can’t wait to see you all next year!!