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Assistive Technology Award Given to Seventh Grader from CLA in Neighborly News

Neighbors in the News: CLA Seventh Grader Receives Assistive Technology Award

It’s always heartwarming to read news of students achieving their dreams and being recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments. Maria Pichon-Gomez, a seventh grader at John G. Conyers Learning Academy (CLA), Rolling Meadows, recently received the 2023 Infinitec North Technology Achievement Award, which honors students who excel in their use of assistive technology.

Maria is in the Multiple Needs Program at CLA and is a wiz at using her device throughout the day. She is frequently asking staff to add words to her device to support her growing vocabulary and special interests like science, doctors, and TV shows. Her persistence and dedication to learning have paid off, and she rightfully deserves this prestigious award.

Recently, the entire CLA school came out to celebrate Maria with a parade. That night, Maria, her family, her educational team, and CLA administrators joined her at the Infinitec Award Ceremony held at the Cotillion Banquet Hall in Palatine.

Infinitec is the technology program of UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago. The mission of Infinitec is to advance independence and promote inclusive opportunities for children and adults with disabilities through technology. Receiving this award is a testament to Maria’s exceptional ability to utilize assistive technology to access curriculum and demonstrate functional independence at school.

Related Facts:
– Each year, the Infinitec Coalition recognizes only 12 students for this prestigious award, making Maria’s achievement even more remarkable.
– Maria’s recognition serves as an inspiration to other students in the program facing similar challenges.

District 21 Appoints Astrid Rodrigues and Julie Brash

Community Consolidated School District 21 has appointed Astrid Rodrigues as its new director of teaching and learning for science and social studies. Rodrigues previously served as the principal of Americana Elementary School in Queen Bee School District 16 in Glendale Heights for the past five years.

District administration notes Rodrigues is a “student-centered leader who is very passionate about learning. Her expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education also made her a strong candidate for the position.”

Additionally, Julie Brash is set to join Field Elementary School as assistant principal, effective July 1. She previously served as an instructional coach in Gurnee District 56. District administration said Brash is “well-versed in curriculum planning due to her teaching experience and coaching role.”

Key Takeaway:
The appointment of highly qualified educators in these leadership roles showcases District 21’s commitment to providing students with quality education founded on innovative teaching methods and expertise in STEM education.

Kelly Bye Appointed CEO at Virginia Abrasives Corp.

Round Lake resident Kelly Bye was appointed chief executive officer at Virginia Abrasives Corp., and subsidiary Johnson Abrasives. Bye, who brings extensive manufacturing experience, previously worked at Benjamin Moore & Company for four years and spent 26 years with Rust-Oleum Corporation, both in the Chicago area.

Bye will be based at Virginia Abrasives’ world headquarters in Petersburg, Virginia, and will be relocating to that region. His statement regarding his new appointment highlights a focus on strategically planning the company’s future and maintaining a top-notch customer experience.


Kudos to these remarkable individuals on their achievements and appointments! The recognition highlights the importance of inclusive education and the crucial role of assistive technologies in supporting students with diverse learning needs. The appointments of highly qualified educators, such as Astrid Rodrigues and Julie Brash, signal a promising future of innovative STEM education in District 21. Furthermore, the appointment of Kelly Bye is a testament to his exceptional leadership and a progressive vision for the future of Virginia Abrasives Corp.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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