Farmingdale Elementary School, Pleasant Plains, Illinois  

Cue the balloons and party hats because we’re celebrating a student who got not one but three 100+ streaks on Fast ForWord! 

Meet Daniel Pottoff, a 3rd grader at Farmingdale Elementary School in Pleasant Plains, Illinois, who recently got 139, 193, and a whopping 285 correct answers in a row on Ocean Explorer, an exercise in the Elements 1 component of Fast ForWord.  

“I knew Daniel would respond well to the challenge to keep improving,” says Reading Aid Missy Coffey, who has worked with Daniel on Fast ForWord since Daniel’s 1st grade days. “He’s very competitive, and he loves sports. So at first, he was motivated to do as well as or better than his peers, and then it became about beating his own record. The fact that the Fast ForWord activities have a game-like feel to them helped Daniel stay on track.” 

Daniel, who plays football, basketball, and baseball, says that one of the keys to his success with FastForward came from staying laser focused—just like he does on the field, court, or diamond. 

“I find a quiet place to sit in the classroom,” Daniel says, “and I give myself space, put my headphones on, and focus really hard.” 

“I can tell when Daniel is in the zone with his Fast ForWord exercises,” says Ms. Coffey, “Because he gets this intense look of concentration on his face. He’s a very determined kid when he has something concrete to work towards.” 

Both Daniel and Ms. Coffey agree that Daniel’s hard work is paying off. “I’m starting to read longer books,” Daniel reports. “With chapters. And reading definitely is not as hard as it used to be.” 

“I can really see a change in Daniel’s literacy abilities and confidence level,” Ms. Coffey confirms. “And his classroom teacher agrees that she has seen his confidence improve a lot. He’s not afraid to try new things or take on challenges because he knows that, as long as he puts in the necessary effort, he’ll get there.” 

As far as advice for students new to Fast ForWord, Daniel advises them to “keep working hard and stay laser focused.” 

Thanks for the excellent advice, Daniel. Congratulations on all your success, and welcome to the 100-in-a-Row Club!      

Jacob Metcalf from Pleasant Plains High School in Pleasant Plains, IL received state recognition at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference on April 15, 2023. Jacob competed in Business Management and received a top four place, which qualifies him to attend and compete at the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA from June 27-30.


It is estimated FBLA has over 216,000 high school members from across the nation and abroad, many of which contend for the opportunity to compete at the conference held in Atlanta. Jacob is the first student from Pleasant Plains High School to qualify for competition at the National Conference. To do this, Jacob had to qualify in two parts, the first of which was an objective test that included 100 questions covering competencies in Information and communication system; Human resource management; Financial management; Business operations; Management functions and environment; Business ownership and law; Strategic management; Ethics and social responsibility; Marketing; Economic concepts; and Careers. The second part was a case study where he was given 20 minutes to prepare for a problem encountered by managers in the following areas: human resource management, financial management, marketing management or information systems management. He had to assume the role of management and present a solution to a panel of judges.


The award was part of a comprehensive competitive events program sponsored by FBLA that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. For many students, the competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. In addition to competitions, students immersed themselves in interactive workshops, visited an exhibit hall, and heard from motivational speakers on a broad range of business topics

Congratualtions to our Scholastic Bowl team on their Sectional Championship!

Congratulations to our 2023 Illinois State Scholars!! ...Ameilia Hopkins, Peyton Bergschneider, and Kinsley Shultz

photo of Ameila Hopkins
photo of Peyton Bergschneider
photo of Kinsley Shultz

PPMS softball brought home a sectional championship after defeating Pittsfield 9-3. They will compete in the first round of the 2A state tournament in Normal at 2:00pm on Friday, September 23.  

photo of PPMS softball team with sectional championship plaque

New Culinary Class at PPHS.....Chicken Stir Fry Anyone?

photo of Culinary Class students showing their stir fry
photo of two culinary students making stir fry

Boys Track Places 3rd in State. 

The boys track team competed in the 2022 IHSA State Track and Field Finals over the weekend.  The boys had their highest finish in team history, placing third as a team and took home their first ever team trophy.  All state athletes include:

400: Zach Powell, State Champion

100: Danny Carney, 4th Place

110 High Hurdles: Nathan Cain, 4th Place

4x100: Jayden Veesenmeyer, Danny Carney, Nathan Cain, Tyler Conn, 4th Place

4x200: Jayden Veesenmeyer, Danny Carney, Tyler Conn, Jack Pearce, 6th Place

4x400: Jack Pearce, Danny Carney, Michael Carter, Zach Powell, 5th Place

In addition ,the following school records were set over the weekend:

400 Meters: Zach Powell, 44.24, breaking his own record of 50.09

4x200 Meter Relay: Jayden Veesnmeyer, Danny Carney, Tyler Conn, Jack Pearce 1:30.25, breaking the mark of 1:30.81 set in 2012 by Jake McNamara, Taylor Ray, Josh Cornett, and George Wayda

Congrats to the boys on a great season!

PPHS Class of 2022 Latin Award Winners

PPHS Class of 2022 Cum Laude: Jasmine Baxter, Campbell Beeler, Carly Bowsher, Kylee Garrett, Elyse Griminger, Isabella Grojean, Isabella Guccione, Carys Lacy, Katlin Osmond, Hannah Smith
PPHS Class of 2022 Magna Cum Laude: Sydney Collins, Isabella Dossett, Kathryn Ebers, Emma Griffith, Nathan Hutcherson, Cinzia Paccione, Hannah, Yohannes
PPHS Class of 2022 Summa Cum Laude: Kyle Abraham, Julia Drake, Anna Moore, Adeline Niebrugge, Ashley Wolters

Kyle Abraham wins 2022 Illinois DAR Good Citizens Award

 The Springfield Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is proud to announce that Kyle James Abraham, son of Jim and Dawn Abraham, has won the 2022 Illinois DAR Good Citizens Award.


The DAR Good Citizens Award is presented to a high school senior who is active in both  his or her school and community.  Students must present a copy of their transcripts and provide two letters of recommendations, as well as detailing their school and community activities.  If students wish to be eligible for a DAR Scholarship, they must also write an essay on an aspect of citizenship selected by the DAR.


Kyle was chosen by Pleasant Plains High School for the competition.  In addition to his application, five other applications from local high schools were submitted to the Springfield DAR Chapter.  All six applicants were honored at a ceremony in February, and Chapter Regent Susan Meister announced that Kyle was chosen as the Chapter winner.  He received a certificate, pin, and financial award.


Competing against twelve other Chapter winners, Kyle won at the District level.  His paperwork was forwarded to the State level, where he competed against the winners of six other Districts.  At the Illinois DAR State Conference in Bloomington, Illinois, it was announced that Kyle was chosen as the 2022 Illinois DAR Good Citizens winner.


In Bloomington, Kyle was recognized for his District win.  For his accomplishments at the State level, Illinois State Regent Debra Coe presented him with a certificate, pin and financial award, as well as a flag of the United States of America that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.  It was also announced that his paperwork had been forwarded to compete with six other States at the Division level, and that he had won the North Central Division award. His paperwork was sent to Washington, DC to compete at the national level.


Illinois State DAR Good Citizens Chairman Lynn Gray states that Kyle is a stellar student.  He has stated his intention to attend Yale University in the Fall and to pursue a degree in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in Spanish.  In the future, he hopes to become a US Air Force physician.

photo of Kyle Abraham

PPMS April Students Of The Month


PPMS April Students of the Month- Congratulations to the following students for earning Student of the Month honors for April: Ellie and Abby McCann, Owen Johnson, Grayson Dodd, Bella Langiano, Sean Brennan, Maddy Hegele, and Andrew Potthoff 

photo of PPMS students of the month for April 2022

PPMS Wax Museum 


PPMS recently hosted our 5th grade Living Wax Museum Open House. Students had a great time portraying historical figures such as: Bob Dylan, Amelia Earhart, Elvis Pressley, and many more.  

photo of student portraying Bob Dylan
photo of two students who portrayed Amelia Earhart
photo of student portraying Elvis Presley
photo of student presenting at the Living Wax Museum Open House
photo of student presenting at the Living Wax Museum Open House
photo of student presenting at the Living Wax Museum Open House
photo of student presenting at the Living Wax Museum Open House

PPHS Art Winners



Farah Helton's 1st place drawing
Mason Cook's 1st place painting

College Fair


In March, PPHS Juniors attended the Illinois Regional College Fair at Illinois College 

students at the Illinois Regional College Fair
students at the Illinois Regional College Fair
students at the Illinois Regional College Fair

MC3 Program

Jason Fanning and Josh Patton in the MC3 program attending the Springfield Clinic addition hosted by O'Shea Builders and site superintendent Paul Grussenneyer. Their visit focused on lean principles of construction as well as career pathways in the industry.

Students in the MC3 program
students in the MC3 program

PPHS Scholastic Art Show Winners


Congratulations to the following students on their outstanding art work!

Preston Allender - bottom left

"Deja Blue" - Honorable mention - Ceramics

Cinzia Pacione - top right

"Foresight" - Honorable mention - Digital Art

Jenna Tabb - top left

"Self Portrait 4" - Silver Key - Drawing & Illustration

Farah Helton - bottom right

*  "Mystic Cyclops" - Honorable Mention - Drawing and Illustration

*  "Rage" - Silver Key - Drawing and Illustration

*  "Rainbow Demon" - Gold Key, and American Visions Award Nominee (this will go on to New York, and is in the running for best of show in the nation.)

Jenna Tab with her drawing titled "Self Portrait 4"
Cinzia Pacione and her digital art titled "Foresight"
Preston Allendar and his ceramics titled "Deja Blue"
At the Springfield Art Gallery, Farah Helton with her American Visions Award Nominee titled "Rainbow Demon"

Congratulations to Jayden Veesenmeyer!

Jayden set a new school record in the indoor 60 with a time of 7.22. 

photo of Jayden Veesenmeyer

FFA Week


Attached are some picture of our students during FFA Week! Bring your tractor to school day is always a sight to see.

Student on a John Deer tractor
student on a Case IH tractor
students trying to use a lasso
group photo of FFA students

Clothing and Textiles Class


One of the more exciting things in teaching is getting to see kids produce work and be creative in their own ways. The clothing and textiles class has been doing some great work recently. Attached are some pictures of some of the items they have been making in class from bags to pants to pillow cases!

Students wearing the pants they made in class
bags that students made
students showing pillow cases that they made
two students attaching pieces of clothing to a dress manikin

Two new clubs added at PPHS


This year we were fortunate to formally add two new Clubs/Organizations to PPHS. We have added FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and FCCLA ( Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America). Congratulations to FBLA members Elyse Griminger (1st place Business Calculations), Jacob Metcalf (1st place Business Concepts), and Lydia Severino (1st place Organizational Leadership). These individuals will move on to compete at a state competition. 

 Last week FCCLA was  able to go to their first leadership conference with FCCLA and Vanessa Tyler was elected as a section officer for the 2022-23 school year. 

PPHS ACES Competition


On February 10, our students participating in ACES (Academic Challenge in Engineering and Science) competed at LLCC.  The tests are based on first-year college courses in the select areas.  

 Illinois State Scholars


Congratulations to the following students for being named an Illinois State Scholar!

PPMS February Students of The Month!


Congratulations to the following students for earning PPMS student of the month honors. Destiny Scott, Will Reiss, Olive Johnson, Ryan Driskill, Madeline Welch, Amelia Krispinsky, Brody Bryant. 

photo of PPMS February students of the month