Accomplishments mark year of transition

District 86 staff, students and administrators continue to build on tradition of excellence

As District 86 prepares for the arrival of the new year, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate some of the accolades and accomplishments from 2023 that helped us build upon our proud tradition of excellence.

• Thirty of our seniors were named finalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

• More than 270 of our students were named Illinois State Scholars.

• Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South were named to the Advanced Placement Program School Honor Roll.

• Eight Hinsdale Central students won the AP Capstone Diploma award.

• Hinsdale Central senior Yanning Jiao was one of 308 students in the world to earn a perfect score on the AP Drawing exam.

• Hinsdale Central teacher Dawn Oler was selected as a grant recipient for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research Program.

• Hinsdale South teacher and theater director Danny Yuska was named the all-state director for the 2025 Illinois High School Theatre Festival.

• Hinsdale Central's Ryan Maita was named the Assistant Principal of the Year for the DuPage Region by the Illinois Principals Association.

District 86 teachers Wendy Orloff-Bowman, Dan Scheldrup and Vince Doran earned the Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Chicago.

• Both schools won numerous academic and athletic championships, including team or individual state titles in boys swimming and diving, tennis, cross country, and track and field.

• Hinsdale Central's Shannon Stover was among the 26 seniors from across Illinois who were named to the Illinois High School Association's 2023 All-State Academic Team.

• Hinsdale South's yearbook earned an All-American rating from the National Scholastic Press Association, while Hinsdale Central's art and literary magazine was named a finalist for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Crown Award for a fourth straight year.

• Hinsdale Central senior and drum major Deona Julary was chosen to lead the Macy's Great American Marching Band in the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

• Music students from both schools earned All District and All State selections.

These achievements reflect the tireless dedication of the more than 600 exemplary faculty and staff members who serve our district. They exemplify the vital and valuable role that our families play in the success of our schools. Most importantly, they remind us of how strongly committed our students are to their education, and how hard they work to reach their goals and realize their potential both in and out of the classroom.

As we bid farewell to 2023 and look ahead to 2024, I want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during what has been a critical period of transition for our district. I hope you will continue to support our efforts in the months ahead as we work to ensure that the rest of the school year is a deeply rewarding and enriching experience for every member of the District 86 community.

For now, though, I want to wish you the happiest of holidays and a joyous new year.

- Dr. Ray Lechner, interim