A whirlwind year

December 13, 2019

From protests on the streets of Hong Kong to support for Daniel Bobo-Jones in U-High halls, activism took the school and world by storm

World Review

Trump Investigations

Donald J. Trump official portrait

March/April: President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is sentenced to four years in prison for financial crimes. Special counselor Robert Mueller recommends to the Virginia court a 19- to 24-year sentence, calling Manafort a “hardened” criminal who “repeatedly and brazenly” broke the law for over a decade, even after being indicted. Later in the month, Attorney General Bill Barr receives Mueller’s complete report, marking the end of the investigation into cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia. In April, Attorney General Barr releases a redacted version of the report to the public.

July 24: Mueller testifies under subpoena to House Intelligence and Judiciary committees to clarify the report.

July 25: Phone call takes place between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Aug. 12: A whistleblower close to the phone call files a complaint, stating that President Trump has acted improperly withholding U.S. aid to Ukraine until the Ukrainian government announces an investigation of Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

September: Congressional oversight committees act to see the whistleblower complaint and launch an investigation. On  Sept. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions. On Sept. 25, the White House releases the transcript of the July 25 call.

Nov. 14-21: Public impeachment hearings take place before the House Intelligence Committee.

Dec. 4: House Judiciary Committee begins to deliberate how to proceed on drafting articles of impeachment. On Dec. 10, two articles of impeachment were revealed to the House.


Feb. 3: The New England Patriots defeat Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII to win sixth title.

April 8: University of Virginia wins the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship.

June 13: Toronto Raptors beat Golden State Warriors to win NBA championship in 4-2 series, becoming the only Canadian team to win the tournament.

July 7:  United States women’s national soccer team wins the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Oct. 30: Washington Nationals defeat Houston Astros 4-3 to win team’s first World Series.

Year In Protest

France:  The Yellow Vest movement in France gains widespread popularity after the Emmanuel Macron administration increased the fuel tax in the country in January.

Venezuela: After elections were deemed illegitimate, Representative Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president in January, directly challenging the authority of sitting president Nicolás Maduro, triggering mass protests, food shortages and power outages.

Sudan: President Omar Al-Bashir was deposed in April after mass protests in the capital. An interim military regime took its place prompting social media outrage and the #blueforsudan trending worldwide on Twitter and Instagram.

U-High students march with other high schoolers in the global youth climate strike Sept. 20. Greta Thunberg’s protest sparked walkouts across the country that are continuing into 2020.

Hong Kong: Peaceful mass protests started in Hong Kong on June 6 initially due to an extradition bill. The protests turned violent after excessive force by the Hong Kong police and changed in nature toward a broader protest against the Chinese Communist Party. After an election in Hong Kong on Nov. 24 pro-democracy candidates won 389 out of 452 elected seats, a huge surge from 2015 when the party won 43.

Climate Strike: In 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl, started striking from her school every Friday to protest climate change. In 2019, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean by boat to deliver an address to the United Nations. Her courage and tenacity sparked 4 million students worldwide to strike on Sept. 20 including students from the Lab Schools.

U-High Review

Faculty and Administration

January:  An email sent to families of the students in the classes of science teacher Daniel Bobo-Jones announced he would no longer be teaching at Lab. Students and families show support for Bobo-Jones by covering the walls of U-High with posters and create a GoFundMe.

February: The majority of the Faculty Association votes no confidence in Director Charlie Abelmann and Principal Stephanie Weber. Additionally, the Faculty Association files a grievance claiming Mr. Bobo-Jones was terminated in violation the collective bargaining agreement. After being denied, it proceeds to arbitration.

May: After a series of school visits from finalists, Paul Beekmeyer is named U-High principal effective July 1.

June: Six months after the termination of Mr. Bobo-Jones, student protests continue with the creation of wood chips engraved with the words “Jones Is Lab.”

October:  Mr. Bobo-Jones’ arbitration decision announced is expected by the end of 2019.


Lab Teams

February:  Swimmer Mitch Walker, Class of 2019, places 28th in state in 100-yard breaststroke. Diver Will Maharry sets a school record in the 11-event diving competition with a score of 312.30.

May: Math Team ends its season by placing fourth at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics State Competition held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the IHSA State championship, boys 4×800 relay team of Abe Zelchenko (Class of 2019), Nicky Edwards-Levin, Eli Ginsburg and Luke Sikora set the school record and finish in sixth place.

Senior Will Koenen races to the ball alongside an opponent. Both boys’ soccer and girls’ tennis won historic championships this year.

October: Girls tennis team becomes first U-High girls’s team to win state. Emily Chang qualifies for golf state championship for the third year in a row.

November: The boys soccer team beats Marquette Catholic 2-1 to win the IHSA 1A state championship for the first time in school history. The girls swimming and diving team sets seven school records and places fourth at the IHSA Sectional meet Nov. 16. Junior Jayne Crouthamel qualifies for state in the athletes with disabilities 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. Lastly, Amanda O’Donnell places 21 in the Cross Country IHSA 2A State Championship.

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