Freshmen Connection Brings Teens To The Chicago River
SCHOOLS | August 14, 2018
Freshmen Connection Brings Teens To The Chicago River

Aug. 14, 2018

Incoming Von Steuben High School freshmen will begin their first day with more than just new friends, but also knowledge of the city’s sewage system.

Freshmen Connection participants spent their summer wading through the Chicago River, examining the ecosystem and learning about Chicago’s water systems and how sewers work. They also helped clean up the river by picking up trash in and around it.

“It was really fun,” said 14-year-old Sophia Drees. “I didn’t expect it to be that fun. I thought it would be gross.”

Incoming freshman Owen Worobiec said the same.

“We put our boots on, went in and I put my net down and caught a crawfish,” he said.

Students said they caught small living creatures such as tadpoles and crawfish, with experts teaching them about the affects of pollution. They also learned about the sewage system through simulation.

Thomas Szulakiewicz, a junior, participated as a student leader in the service learning project. He was already a part of Von Steuben’s Linkcrew group, which mentors freshmen throughout the year.

“I chose to be in both because I wanted to be a role model,” he said, adding that “it’s also a great opportunity for service learning hours.”

Freshmen Connect is all about giving new students a chance to learn about their school before the first day. The free program is offered at 70 high schools district-wide, giving students the opportunity get to know their school counselor, teachers and other support staff. They experience fun and educational field trips too.