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Union, district, and board form a “scary” partnership


The Lemont Council of AFT Local 604 collaborated with administrators and school board members this month to host a “frightful” community event - a haunted house.

Michelle Nevin, president of the 165-member council in Lemont-Bromberek District 113a, said the suggestion to create the haunted house came from a school board member. Enthusiasm for the project spread quickly. With strong support from new Superintendent Dr. Courtney Orzel, board members, administrators, and union members worked together to bring the idea to life.

“In the past it was difficult to build a strong relationship with our board because a new Superintendent was hired each year,” Nevin said. “Now there is a more positive attitude and Dr. Orzel and the board want to work with us to support students and learning.”

Together they designed and set up elaborate Halloween displays in an empty building that once served as a Central Junior High School. Local organizations and community members donated supplies and decorations to the “Haunted Central” project.


Students, parents, and community members bought tickets for the popular spook house. When the receipts were counted, this unique union/district collaboration had raised more than $15,000 for the Lemont Education Foundation and Hope and Friendship, a community organization that provides needy families with everything from Thanksgiving meals to pool parties for children.

Nevin says talk about next year’s haunted house has already begun, and she is sure that the district and union will continue to work together and strengthen their relationship further.

“This was the greatest collaborative undertaking that I’ve ever been a part of as a teacher,” she said. “It’s a terrific example of how the union and district can work together to engage our community. That benefits us all.”

Click here to watch the “Haunted Central” video!




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