10 Really Great Things That Happened in Oak Lawn in 2013

Community stories that made us feel better in 2013.

Dist. 123's grand 'day in the life' tweet experiement.
Dist. 123's grand 'day in the life' tweet experiement.

It is isn’t fair to this fine community to look at it only through the prism of Oak Lawn Patch’s top-viewed stories in 2013, most of which involved crime and dysfunctional village politics.

Read, Oak Lawn Patch's Top-Viewed Stories in 2013

Some stories we purposely left off our “13 for 13” list because they involved personal tragedy and loss for local families that played out in the public view. We wish these families continued healing and hope in the new year.

Lots of great things happened in Oak Lawn in 2013, too. While these stories and posts may not have been the most read, they certainly made us feel better.

1. We found Wilbur and dozens of other lost dogs on our Facebook page.

Wilbur was our most successful lost dog reunion story in 2013. The rat terrier-mix was in full lost-doggie survival mode while on the run for three days in Oak Lawn and Chicago Ridge. A Good Samaritan, who had read about Wilbur’s plight on our Facebook page, coaxed the scared pooch into his car and returned Wilbur to his family. Patch was there to catch the happy reunion on video.

2. Everyone gets a chance to play in the band.

After a six-year absence, Amber Feigel was hired to reform the band program in Ridgeland Dist. 122 schools. Part of Feigel’s appeal to D122 officials was her experience working in impoverished schools in the Teach for America program. With the poverty level at 85 percent in the Ridgeland district, the can-do teacher started seeking donated band instruments so that every child who wants to has the opportunity to play in the school band.

3. Richards Bulldogs go to state.

The Richards High School boys’ varsity football team had a stellar season and made it all the way to the dance, only to fall to another pack of Bulldogs from Batavia in the IHSA 6A state championship. Still, the Richards Bulldogs gave fans a lot of thrills and chills in 2013. The good news is that most of the players are coming back next year.

4. Mother McAuley wins the girls’ volleyball state championship.

It was a celebration long in the making for the Mighty Macs who have been racking up state appearances and playoff wins season after season, but haven't captured the big one in nine years. The champions were treated to a golf cart ride through the halls of Mother McAuley.

5. The Spartan Anglers were named ‘Fishing Team of the Year.’

Oak Lawn Community High School’s fishing team was named the  Fish and Outdoor Radio Show/Plano and Frabill’s “Illinois High Schools Fish Here” fishing team of the year. The OLCHS team was chosen for its community service, establishing a fishing rod and reel loaner program where community members can check out fishing equipment at the Oak Lawn Library with their library cards.

6. D123 Students Tweeted ‘A Day In the Life’ at their schools.

On Nov. 22, students at Oak Lawn-Hometown Dist. 123’s six grammar schools broadcasted images of their school day on Twitter. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the project’s theme was “Thankful.” Students tweeted pictures of their science experiments, band practices, movie-making and happy homework dances throughout the day. To view a live stream of the images and spend a “Day-In-The-Life with us please go to http://d123.org/1dayd123.

7. Kent Carson gets his life back.

Oak Lawn-resident Kent Carson was one of five patients recognized for his courage and achievement in rehabilitation by Advocate Christ Medical Center. Carson lost both his legs and left arm to Legionnaire’s disease. He went to three different hospitals before he found Advocate Christ’s outpatient rehabilitation program. His dream is to help other amputees by showing them through hard work and hope, that they may one day walk again.

8. The Brownies of Troop 60627 spruced up the Oak Lawn Gazebo.

Noticing that the Oak Lawn Gazebo on the Village Green was looking a little worse for wear after a long winter, the Brownies of Troop 60627 got busy. Without any prompting by their leaders, the Brownies filled several bags with litter and other debris. Troop 60627 meets at Sward Elementary School.

9. Natalia Nykasa performs her first solo violin recital.

Columbus-Manor student Natalia Nykasa, 10, performed a solo recital as her Book 1 graduation requirement the Music Connection of Orland Park. The recital included works of Bach, Schumann, Gossec, as well as folk songs. “We congratulate her on a beautiful recital and are so proud of her accomplishment,” school director Janet Kuester said.

10. Five Oak Lawn Outlaws made it to the Pro-Bowl

McNichols, Hernandez, Sweeney, Correa and Tishler from the Oak Lawn Outlaws got the chance to play in their youth football league’s pro-bowl at Toyota Park.

Pat F January 02, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Poverty level at 85%?? It's no wonder these companies are buying up all these houses to rent!! Don't know who would want to move here?? Thank You Mr. Obama!!!!!
Dana Pyzik January 02, 2014 at 01:33 PM
What a wonderful Top 10 list. This is why I love Oak Lawn!! I missed a few of these stories during the year so, I'm glad you recapped them for us. It's great to refocus on all the good that is happening in our area. Unfortunately,there will always be those who would rather focus on the negative aspect of a story rather than the positive. So, with that said: I love that we helped Wilbur and many others find their way home safely. Way to go Amber for making sure every poor child in your school district is included in the opportunities being offered. Congratulations Richards, Mother McAuley, and Oak Lawn Outlaws! Awesome public service Spartan Anglers and Brownie Troop 60627! Dist 123 thanks for sharing. It's good for us to see what life is really like for others. And finally, Kent and Natalia, what an inspiration you both are to DREAM BIG and then never give up until you get there.
Glen Kato January 03, 2014 at 12:21 AM
Despite the views of a few dark clouders I agree that oak lawn is a great community that continues to evolve. There are many great stories in oak lawn. Thanks for highlighting a few of them


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