LSC discusses ring mystery, enrollment
by BRIAN NADIG
A class ring mystery, an enrollment increase and school bathrooms were discussed at the Oct. 2 meeting of the Taft High School Local School Council.
Taft principal Mark Grishaber reported that former LSC member Joe McFeely recently found a 1977 Taft class ring while scanning the school grounds with a metal detector. The ring, which had the name "Mike Winfrey" engraved on it, was buried about 6 inches underground, near a cottonwood tree.
Since the LSC meeting, Winfrey has contacted the school and will be receiving his ring back at the council’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Winfrey learned that his ring was found after it was first reported in the Oct. 10 issue of Nadig Newspapers’ Chicago’s Northwest Press, and he said that his "phone was blowing up" with friends calling him. He said that he placed the ring in his sock right after his girlfriend had broken up with him but that it apparently fell out during gym class or football tryouts.
McFeely recommended that, as a class project or club activity, students periodically scan the campus with metal detectors in hopes of finding something related to the school’s history or neighborhood.
It was also reported that enrollment is at 3,434 students, higher than the Chicago Public Schools’ projection of 3,372 students. The additional students means more funds are being allocated to Taft, and budget revisions will have to be made, said LSC parent member Krissy Estrada.
The school system’s space utilization report lists Taft as the most overcrowded school in the city, and plans are being made to open a Taft freshman campus at a new school that is being built at 4071 N. Oak Park Ave.
To help reduce the enrollment for this fall, Taft accepted fewer applicants than usual for its Seventh and Eighth Grade Academic Center and the U.S. Naval Junior ROTC Program, both of which accept students from outside its attendance boundaries.
Meanwhile, plans are being made to use student volunteers to periodically check on the condition of the school’s bathrooms for possible vandalism, according to LSC student representative Liam O’Shea.
"It all ties in with the ‘take pride in the school’ campaign," LSC chairwoman Kathy Fern said.
LSC parent member Deanna Shoss said that the bathrooms are in overall good shape but that "sometimes it can take only one kid" to create a problem.
At the school’s Sept. 28 homecoming football game at Lane Tech Stadium, about 2,000 Taft fans showed up, Grishaber said. "That tells you something about Taft," he said. "We travel well … a sea of blue." Taft defeated Lincoln Park 32-7.
Next year Taft hopes to play its home games at a new multi-purpose athletic field that is under construction at the southeast end of the campus. The construction should be completed later this year, and every effort will be made to keep the area around the field and nearby homes "spotless" after football games, Grishaber said.
Also, during the meeting’s public comment portion, a parent encouraged the school to join the "Best Buddies" program. Under the program, developmentally disabled and non-disabled students are paired up and get together for a variety of activities.
"I’m for it," Grishaber told the parent. "It’s a wonderful thing, and we’ll have it here at Taft."
At the end of the meeting, the LSC selected Chris Raguso to fill a parent vacancy on the council. There were 15 applicants for the position.
The next council meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.