Byline: Tara Malone Daily Herald Staff Writer
Michelle Oskorep traces paper leaves, cutting out shades of autumn to hang on a tree trunk.
White dollops of snow come next. She attaches those to a second tree trunk.
Together, the trees show the roll of one season into the next.
Oskorep, a 15-year-old sophomore at South Elgin High, mastered the seasonal distinction long ago.
But the newest crop of students to cross the threshold - the 3- and 4-year-old variety - might be more fuzzy.
South Elgin High's student-run Learning Lighthouse Preschool will welcome its inaugural crop of students Oct. 18.
Oskorep cannot wait.
"I don't actually get to teach until November," said Oskorep, folding her tall frame on a seat designed with 4-year-olds in mind, "but that's what I am most excited about ... being in here."
South Elgin High's student-run preschool is the newest in Elgin Area School District U-46. The district's other four high schools have long-standing preschools with a steady influx of children.
As news of the Learning Lighthouse Preschool spreads, program director Carol DePue hopes a similar wave of youngsters arrive.
"I'm guessing it will build as the word gets out," said DePue, who teaches South Elgin High's childhood education observation classes. "We're brand new."
New, but ready.
Seasonal decorations brighten a wall of closets. A tall castle stands in the center of the carpeted room, inviting children of all ages to climb. A mound of dress-up clothes with everything from an astronaut suits to fireman uniforms invite youngsters to imagine what life might hold for them.
Classes will be reserved for 16 4-year-olds or 12 3-year-olds. …