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St. Linus’ Scholars’ Hall seeks to inspire

St. Linus School Principal Mike Stritch hopes pennants from colleges universities attended by alumni will inspire current students seek bachelor's

St. Linus School Principal Mike Stritch hopes pennants from colleges and universities attended by alumni will inspire current students to seek bachelor's degrees and more. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 17, 2014 1:58PM



When the children who attend St. Linus School in Oak Lawn need inspiration for their future, all they have to do is look skyward.

They’re not looking for heavenly inspiration, although some kids have been known to seek that when finals roll around.

Rather, they’re looking up at pennants of colleges and universities attended by the many graduates of St. Linus, 10400 Lawler Ave.

The hallway leading from the school to the church has been named Scholars’ Hall and is dedicated to showing the students that they can achieve college diplomas some day. Pennants from nearly 40 colleges and universities are displayed on the walls.

Principal Mike Stritch got the idea “when I saw a TV show about kids in a Chicago high school wearing ties of the colleges they were going to go to.

I wanted to give our students some motivation and inspiration for them to continue their education. What better way to do that then to show the colleges and universities our graduates have attended?”

He solicited information from parishioners about where St. Linus graduates have attended college. An announcement in the church bulletin ran for one month and resulted in 190 responses.

“Thank God there weren’t 190 different colleges and universities. We wound up with around 40. We’ll continue it for future graduates. We only did bachelor’s degrees,” Stritch said.

They shopped online or contacted the schools to acquire the pennants.

“There were a couple (of pennants) we couldn’t find like University of Illinois at Chicago and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. We’re still waiting on St. Norbert’s,” he said.

Scholars’ Hall is “the only hallway in the building that everyone has to walk down,” Stritch said, making it a natural place to draw the attention of students.

Pennants on the east wall include Northwestern, Marquette, DePaul, Villanova, Eastern Illinois, Columbia, Yale, Illinois State, Sacramento State, Illinois, Indiana, Georgetown, Dayton, Purdue, St. Xavier, Loras, Lewis and St. Mary’s of Minnesota.

The west wall has DePauw, Northeastern, St. Ambrose, Augustana, Valparaiso, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Fordham, Rhode Island, Richmond, Miami of Ohio, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Bradley, Loyola, Ball State, Indiana State and Western Illinois.

Students have said they enjoy looking at the pennants, student council president Katie Pappas, 14, of Oak Lawn, said.

“They all have their favorites,” she said. “... I think it’s a great idea. It’s very inspirational for the students to make a goal to attend a college where other students from here went.”

Student council vice president Grace Green, 14, of Oak Lawn, said it’s “nice for the kids to walk down the hallway and think they can be successful like some other kids who went to school here. I think it motivates them.”

She and Katie don’t yet know where they will attend college. But they do know they’ll see each other this fall when they go to Marist High School after their eighth-grade graduation on May 30.



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