Category Archives: Senn

New documentary focuses on Senn TV

By RogersEdge Reporter Staff

A new short documentary, “Behind the Scenes at SennTV,” has been released to the public.

The short news feature, produced and directed by Kendall L. Jackson Jr., highlights the digital journalism program at Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.


Jackson, a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago, shot the documentary at Senn, his alma mater.

The documentary shows the work of a dedicated group of high school students who produce a weekly newscast at Senn. Since its inception, SennTV has provided informative video pieces that revolve around the culture at Senn High School and Edgewater/Andersonville/Rogers Park area.

School Quality Report Has Good News for Rogers Park

Chicago Public Schools released its fifth consecutive School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) and Rogers Park elementary schools, high schools and charter schools are highly ranked.

The SQRP is the Board of Education’s policy for evaluating school performance and it includes college enrollment, persistence, priority student group growth, and a target test participation rate of 95 percent, according to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) website. This newer strategy uses a 5-tier rating system.

In the 2018-19 report, five of the Rogers Park schools were K-8, one schools includes grades 6-12, one school was grades 9-12 and one school was K-12. The schools included New Field School, Field School, Kilmer School, Jordan School, Gale Academy, Sullivan High School, Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA) and Acero de la Cruz School. There rankings have improved or remained the same since last year.  

2014-18-CPS-Ratings-49th-Ward.jpg (960×720)Source:


The CMSA has received a 1+ ranking for the past four years, and it is currently ranked 69th in Illinois by the US News and World Report.

Alderman Joe Moore (49 Ward) released a statement Oct. 29 congratulating the eight schools located within Rogers Park schools for their high rankings; all of the schools received scores of 2+ or higher. There are five rankings in the SQRP system: 1+ is the highest score and 3 is the lowest.  

The New Field School has the most improved ranking in Rogers Park in this past year, according to Moore.

“By last year, New Field’s rating had dropped to Level 2,” Moore said. “Under the leadership of its dynamic new principal, Corey Callahan, and an engaged Local School Council, New Field soared back to the coveted Level 1+ rating.”

The SQRP has many purposes, such as showing parents and community members individual schools and district academic success. It also recognizes and identifies high growth schools and helps guide the Board’s decision-making processes around schools actions and procedures.

Sidelined By Van Dyke Verdict, Senn Homecoming Better Late Than Never

Senn High School’s annual homecoming pep rally, scheduled for Oct. 5, had to be postponed when word came that a verdict in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke would be read that afternoon. Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder. And violence that had been feared if a not guilty verdict came in, did not materialize. Homecoming festivities were held Oct. 8.

Our team of Senn High School students were on hand to record the fun.


Senntoberfest Offers Brats, Beer, Games, and Music

Senn High School will host the school’s second annual Senntoberfest Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m. All are welcome.

The student-run event will take place at Senn Park, located at Ridge and Clark, behind the school.

The festival, in the spirit of a German Octoberfest, will over food like brats and pretzels. A beer garden will also be available for adults.

The Senn High School Band will also provide live music. And hayrides, a haunted house, and other games will be offered.

Donations of $5 per person or $10 per family are suggested at entry.



The one and only Kendall Jackson Jr.

“I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve done, even though I hear from everybody, you do so much it’s hard for me to identify myself.”

Kendall Jackson Jr is not only a senior at Senn High School, the lead of Senn TV, and a licensed senior deckhand at Wendella Boat… he’s also the recipient of Loyola University’s most prestigious scholarship. Jackson recently received the Ignatius scholarship, a full ride to Loyola, where he will be continuing his academic career next semester. 

His freshman year, he started working for Wendella Boat, located on the Riverwalk downtown. He first began as a dock attendant, a position his mother introduced him to.  As a dock attendant, Jackson had to work as a runner – He would get food, clean the doc, and take care of other tasks. Jackson is currently working as a licensed senior deckhand.

While working for Wendella Boat, the 18-year-old was also leading Senn’s journalism program. He worked for Senn TV since his sophomore year and worked diligently to prove himself and produce videos that he was proud of. Jackson Jr said he has always been intrigued with videography.

“My biggest frustration with high school is that I had to wait for college to learn about it [videography],” he said. “There wasn’t any time dedicated for me to do it and I didn’t really have anywhere to go to show my interest in that, Journalism made me work with it and bring out my interest in it.”


Jackson, despite his countless accomplishments, said he wasn’t always as driven and motivated as he is right now. He credits his motivation to his aunt.

“My freshman year my aunt was murdered and it just changed my perspective on a lot of things, like I wasn’t in the same mindset as I’m in right now. So, when I lost my aunt, it made me mature more… it made me realized that I had to take care of a lot of people” he said. “I want to make sure everyone’s alright and just having the general sense of being aware of the peoples that’s around me and how much I want to help and how much I want to support them in multiple ways… I think that’s what motivates me the most.”

“If I’m not balanced and I’m not looking out for myself, then who is? I have to look out for myself and also help and look out for others too.” Jackson continued. 

Jackson said he took this event and let it inspire him. Even though this tragedy was very difficult for him, he took it as an opportunity to push himself and flourish as an individual.

With Jackson’s newfound drive, his schedule was busy and chaotic, but he managed to find a balance and accomplish great things. I myself genuinely look up to Kendall and what he’s capable of.  

“I’m still figuring out myself I just try to focus as much time on each task and make sure it’s to my liking,” he said.

Jackson Jr’s hard work throughout his four years of high school paid off when he received a full scholarship to Loyola University Chicago. He said that although he wasn’t certain with his decision to go to Loyola in the beginning, he now believes it’s the perfect fit for him.

“It’s a perfect fit for many reasons that I didn’t think about until I got it, Loyola has been a staple in my education for four years,” he said.  “Loyola always being involved with the curriculum, is like just like, I’ve always been part of Loyola but I never sense to realize that… I’m leaving Senn yes and moving into a bigger campus but the same attitude and the same mindset isn’t going to be that much different because of all the stuff that Loyola’s provided for Senn.”

Jackson said that his painful past and resiliency proves he deserves his place at Loyola, and he hopes to bring his cheerful energy to his new campus.

“I don’t like the attention of myself that much I don’t like to take credit for a lot of things and not see myself in a positive way but just see me myself the way everybody sees me, this guy that can almost do anything, and I don’t see myself that way I see myself just trying something new.”

Senn Leaders say second walkout shows students still energized

More than 400 Senn students participated in a walk-out to protest gun violence last Friday. And Senn Student Council President Rory Hayes said she’s encouraged by the turnout, which she said was just as strong as the national student walkout several weeks ago.

“The numbers were actually about the same (450-550 student) so the turnout was great”

Hayes said she and other organizers wanted to let students use their creativity to address the issue.

“We wanted to find a way to incorporate an artistic take on the subject of gun control (and) gun violence and how we can show our support conceptually of the hashtag ‘NeverAgain’ movement,” she said.

The rally, which students across the country also participated in, was a continuation of a student walkout in February, after the school shooting at Parkland High School in Florida.

“Students seemed to enjoy the performances while also respectfully listening”

In order for this rally to be successful and more engaging, organizers made the rally an ‘open mic’.  Students decided what to say, and some offered musical performances. A theatre student performed a monologue with anecdotes about the school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado twenty years ago.


Expert Q&A: Why Students of all ages are so anxious

If you know anyone under the age of 23, the information in the next paragraph probably won’t surprise you.

Young adults, in college and in high school, are totally stressed out – about everything from schoolwork to social media to career prospects to the state of the world.

The situation isn’t getting better. It’s getting worse.

With each passing year since at least 2008, studies have shown that an increasing number of students are suffering from anxiety.

In 2013, for example, almost half of all college students sought counseling for stress, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health.

We asked clinical social worker Dianna Stencel, who has worked for Loyola University Chicago’s Wellness Center since  2002, what’s going on.

Stencel has a B.A. in psychology and a minor in philosophy. She later received her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Illinois.

Here, she explains why college students – and even high school students at such neighborhood schools as Senn and Sullivan – are so anxious.

Define anxiety in your own words.

Anxiety isn’t necessarily an illness or a problem, it’s more of a feeling we can’t control. It’s much more than just being overwhelmed. For instance, when we are sad, we do something that cheers us up, like call a friend or take a walk. Anxiety isn’t as easily controlled and I think that’s what students struggle with it the most. They cannot control it, and today that is something that students have trouble grasping. They want to be in control of everything they do to ensure a positive outcome or future.

What is the most common cause of anxiety?

Most students say expectations are too high. They think they have to do certain things in order to be worthy, or successful.

Why do you think anxiety has become such a prevalent issue in college students today?

Over the past several years, anxiety has completely surpassed depression as the number one reason students in college go to therapy or some kind of counseling service. One study says anxiety increased in college students from 50 percent in 2011 to 62 percent in 2016. That being said, I think it all goes back to what I said earlier about having too many expectations. There seems to be a constant push to do even better, almost like there is no limit. Students no longer understand the concept of “trying your best.” It’s about being the best.

What’s changed in this generation?

There have also been studies about the concept of perfectionism, especially in college students today. They are consistently bombarded with schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, keeping a job, only to keep fighting for better jobs, because they feel it just isn’t enough. I’ve been told so many times by students that if they aren’t doing something worthwhile, they feel anxious and cannot sit still. And when they cannot sit still, they resort to their phones or computers to scroll through social media. But then when they see others “doing.” they feel instant stress.

Do you think society as a whole is an additional cause to anxiety?

What society expects of young people is crazy to me. Just what people do in their everyday lives is crazy to me, no matter what age. College students in particular though are juggling so much mentally and physically to the point that it’s chipping away at them, which comes in the form of anxiety. Students always tell me about their parents or grandparents telling them that schooling when they were young is nowhere near what it is for their kids today. The workload was lighter, there was more room for free time and fun, and just less stress. But I hear about students that are already focusing on their lives years down the road, and I think to myself, why is this a worry in the present? And it is because society paints this picture in our minds that we have to be successful or life is not worth living.

How do you feel about social media’s role in increasing student anxiety?

Social media absolutely plays a role in the development of anxiety. Students post virtually every aspect of their day on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Students viewing these posts compare themselves to others.  If the viewer feels the other person has a better life, then the viewer feels stress. It’s one big cycle.

What advice do you have for students today to help minimize anxiety?

Check in with yourself. It sounds easier than it is unfortunately, but remaining in tune with what your mind and body needs is huge. Mindfulness, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation are exercises my students have found very helpful.

Here is a five minute meditation to decrease stress.

Yo-Yo Ma visits Senn High

World renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma recently paid a visit to Senn High School in Edgewater, where he performed with the school orchestra.

When it came time for Senn TV, the school’s student-run TV news show, to interview Ma, he flipped the script and interviewed senior music student and fellow cellist Ethan Pitroda.

Here is a video of that interview:


Be sure to check out all the video news at: SENN TV.

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