Special Education

Article excerpt

Sixth-grader Salvador Tello of Simmons Middle School in Aurora wrote about sports and other interests in a series of letters to his pen pal, Prospect High School senior Brian Johnston of Mount Prospect.

He also divulged what he dreams of doing when he grows up: he wants to be a mechanic.

"I like to fix things," he said during a visit to the Northwest suburbs last week, when he and his classmates met their high school pen pals for the first time.

In response, Johnston wrote about his plans for the future: he wants to teach, more specifically teach high school physics.

The Simmons Middle School students met their Northwest suburban pen pals last Thursday for an afternoon of games, a scavenger hunt, and ice cream sundaes at Rolling Meadows High School.

"This has been cool and fun," said sixth-grader Winter Kent of Aurora. "I liked the outside activities the best."

The teen pen pals came from Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Hersey, Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling high schools, and all share an interest in becoming a teacher. The teens are enrolled in Northwest Suburban High School District 214's Education Academy, based at Rolling Meadows High School.

Meeting their pen pals, they said, gave them a way to interact with different students.

"We wanted it to be fun and educational," said Elk Grove High School senior Stephanie Maday.

In District 214's Education Academy, students spend two afternoons a week in classroom sessions and the other three working on-site in a classroom setting.

Johnston spent the first six weeks as a student teacher in a physics class at Wheeling High School. …