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Buy a Brick to Mark Indian Trail's 50th Anniversary, Build 'Harper's Hollow'

As Plainfield School District Superintendent John Harper gets ready to retire after three decades in the district, a Plainfield school is also marking a milestone.

Superintendent John Harper. Credit: File photo
Superintendent John Harper. Credit: File photo
Submitted by District 202:

Indian Trail Middle School is looking to build a foundation for its future, and link to a key figure from its long, proud past.

District 202 businesses and residents – especially Indian Trail alumni and their families – are invited and encouraged to buy specially-engraved bricks to raise funds for a special “brick garden” to help celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. Indian Trail opened in1964.

The brick garden will be built in the school’s newly-refurbished courtyard. The courtyard will give students the chance to read, learn, experiment, enjoy the outdoors and relax. The deadline to buy bricks is Monday, April 28, 2014.

The courtyard will be re-named “Harper’s Hollow” to honor Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Harper, who is retiring on June 30, 2014.

Harper started his education career in 1981 as a social studies teacher at Indian Trail. He also served as a coach, dean of students and assistant principal, before moving to Grand Prairie as principal in 1990.

“Harper’s Hollow” will be dedicated this spring to mark Harper’s retirement. The completed pavilion will be unveiled next fall.

Each brick can be engraved with the names of family members or businesses. The school’s “wildcat” mascot can also be added for an additional fee. Bricks for families are either $30 without the mascot logo, or $40 with the logo. Business bricks are $100 without the logo and $150 with.

Harper worked his entire 33-year career in District 202, including the last 12 as superintendent. He oversaw most of a decade of breathtaking expansion from about 1997-2008. During that time District 202 grew from 3,500 students in five schools, to about 30,000 students in 30 schools.

He and his staff also guided the district through the many financial challenges resulting from the recent recession, and ongoing problems with state funding.

Harper and his staff also initiated, oversaw and led a comprehensive revision of district curriculum, operational logistics and support services to better serve all students.

“Dr. Harper is respected and admired throughout this community as a man of great integrity, quiet strength and grace, with roots right here at Indian Trail,” said Principal Christian Rivara. “We are very proud to honor him in this prominent and permanent way,” he said.

“Indian Trail has a long and proud history, and our former and current students share many wonderful memories of their time in our school thanks largely to all of our great staff members over the last 50 years,” Rivara said.

“Each brick will be a very real part of a new memory and tradition, and will help us connect our past, present and future.”

To order a brick, please visit the Indian Trail Middle School website. Please contact Laura Burns for more information at (815) 436-6128 or lburns@psd202.org


Butch February 24, 2014 at 07:37 AM
You got to be kidding. All the money we taxpayers have paid this guy isn't enough? He sent recruiters to Mexico to hire teachers. Now we have a district full of illegals. I don't believe for a second this guy is going to retire. He will collect his golden Illinois pension and then move somewhere else to eventually get another golden pension. I bet he would like to take this school board with him since they gave him whatever he asked for. Administators justify there lucrative pay packages from the size of there districts. Thirty thousand students and terrible test scores. I have a completely different idea of what we can do with a brick.
Butch February 24, 2014 at 07:43 AM
How about a brick for a veteran.
Glenn Drover February 24, 2014 at 08:26 AM
My experience is that District 202 is a world class organization full of top notch teachers and administrators. Dr. Harper deserves the recognition and compensation for a job well done.
Dan February 24, 2014 at 08:48 AM
last time I bought a brick,I got busted. sounds like a set up.......
John Tips February 24, 2014 at 08:57 AM
I would rather see someone throw a brick instead of buying one! Harper's reckless use of taxpayers funds should not be memorialized in stone! This districts school board which supported Harper's' exuberant spending on a well planned trip to sunny Mexico, must not be forgotten! The ONLY heroes here are the taxpayers who reluctantly paid for Harper's useless trip. The guise as I clearly recall it was - we were unable to find Qualified teachers in all of Illinois and the country, so we had to go to Mexico to find them! $$$$ The taxpayers who did complain at that time were met with bull$**t by Harper's mouth piece Hernandez, who replied that if they could not find a Polish speaking teacher here they would have gone to Poland to find one! $$$$$ People of district 202 should learn to bend over more often, if they don't vote in the coming election to clear this school board of the riffraff they elected! $$$$ Good Bye - John Harper - and good riddance!
Ron Jidzny February 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Wait until you see your tax bill on May 1, then decide if you want to purchase a brick.....which I doubt anyone will.
Jimmy Parks February 24, 2014 at 02:36 PM
I respect everyones opinion on this topic. That being said, my opinion is that Dr. Harper has done a great job. Given all the challenges with the economy, the incredible growth in population and the unfortunate ever-changing security concerns, I am happy Plainfield had him help guide the school system. His compensation is comparable to other districts. I personally thank you Dr. Harper, and wish you the best.
Joe Schmo February 24, 2014 at 05:16 PM
Harpers done a great job .. just wondering what the proceeds from the sale of the bricks will be spent on by the school district
CYNTHIA KULEKOWSKIS February 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM
Look at it as a way to have your own family name remembered and memorialized in the courtyard.
Amusedbyitall February 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Joe Schmo, the story says the proceeds will be used to pay for the brick garden. Doesn't seem to be any mystery...
John Tips February 28, 2014 at 05:13 PM
I will look at our next Property TAX BILL and see how many bricks we already have bought!
Jdub0721 March 10, 2014 at 09:46 PM
Everyone is entitled to there opinions....However, i have worked in the district for 10 years and have worked with Dr. Harper on many occasions. He is truly a humble and kind man who has his priorities in check. His top priority is your children. I see a lot of comments on here that show how truly clueless so of you are. Dr. Harper has worked his ass off day after day, night after night to make the district better for your kids while his kids are home missing him because the guy works around the clock. The bottom line you dont want a brick dont by one! You dont like the taxes move to joliet your list of complaints will be much more that post on patch about a brick. He is not starting this the school is and are simply honoring him for his services over the past 30 years. Fact is this man would give you the shirt off of his back if he could but bc he is the big guy everyone feels the need to ride him until hes gone. He is in a lose lose job title and if he wants to collect 2 pensions then good for him. Thats his business not yours!
Kelly Butler Richards April 07, 2014 at 10:12 PM
Well said Jdub0721!! I myself went to Indian Trail Junior High back in the late 80's when Dr. Harper was there. He definitely was a humble and kind man that would give you the shirt off his back. There were many teachers like him, and one reason why I became an educator myself. I am VERY proud to have gone through District 202. I will be buying a brick!!

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