The event kicked off with a keynote address by Mundelein’s own police chief, Eric Guenther. Having followed a non-traditional path to college, Chief Guenther not only encouraged the 185 eighth graders never to give up on learning but also never to cease learning no matter what career path they ultimately choose to pursue.
As students moved around during the morning from speaker to speaker, one of the highlights was local businessman and CSMS graduate Tony Volpentesta of Tony Cannoli, a maker of baked goods. Through his presentation, Volpentesta was able to talk with students about the process of becoming a local business owner originating with his early days as a middle school student. Other presenters such as the Coast Guard and various university representatives used a combination of presentations and hands-on collaborative techniques to spur the students’ thinking and to invite their questions. Students from the AVID and Schuler Scholar programs at the high school also offered their own firsthand perspectives on preparation for high school and beyond.
Principal Mark Pilut said of the event, “I was impressed by the questions that the students asked. Their questions were about changing and impacting our world. The kids’ future is our future and from my observations the future is bright.”