Alumni Return Home to Impact Student Culture


CHSD117: Educator Spotlight

Educator Spotlight: Madellyn Soberano

We are pleased to shine the spotlight on one of the many outstanding educators, a graduate of ACHS who has returned home, Ms. Madelyn Soberano. Madelynn was recently awarded the Distinction of Excellence in the “Those Who Excel” Award Program from the Illinois State Board of Education. She is quite deserving of this honor. 

In this district, our mission statement is “to ignite the passion and discovery in every student”. We consider it to be a significant measure of success that Madelynn found her passion when she was a student and now works tirelessly to do the same for her students. Just recently, Madelynn secured funding from external sources so that her students could fuel that passion and attend the Journalism Education Association’s annual conference in St. Louis. She chaperoned about 20 students who had a unique experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

 To see her teach, it appears as though she has been refining her craft for quite some time when, in reality, she has just been an educator for a few short years: that is how effortless she makes it look. Her strength lies within her ability to engage students. Students enjoy the class because it looks and feels like a real life newsroom that we would see in the movies. Teams of students who are actively collaborating to produce video interviews or articles for the newspaper magazine while trying to meet a deadline produces a “buzz” within her classroom which is what defines the experience for students. It doesn’t seem like a class, it seems very much like an experience. She has inspired many to follow her same path and study journalism in college. When you make that sort of difference in the lives of students, you can truly be considered one of “Those Who Excel’’.

Educator Spotlight: Danny Castellano

Danny Castellano graduated with Honors from Lakes Community High School in 2018. He was active in Choir (President in his senior year), Theatre, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and Thespian Honors Society in addition to being a Royal Rush Leader his senior year. Mr. Casetello attended Illinois State University (ISU) to major in Special Education and performed in the ISU Clef Hangers Acapella singing group. We were thrilled to have Mr. Castellano return to Lakes to be a Special Education teacher in the fall of 2022 at the very school where he grew up! Mr. Castellano’s experience as a former Lakes student connects him on a unique level with our current students. He has also rejoined the Royal Rush as the staff advisor. When he isn’t teaching, Mr. Castellano enjoys time with his family and friends, playing piano, and watching Ozark. 

What is your favorite memory from high school? 
My favorite memory from high school is the Lakes 2018 musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. This was the final show of my high school career. I was one of the male leads, and between the cast, crew, and pit, there were over 200 students involved in the production. 

Why did you want to come back to Lakes as a teacher? 
As a student, Lakes was a place that helped shape me into the person that I am today. I wanted to have the opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much. 

What has been the best part of being a teacher at Lakes?
The best part about being a teacher at Lakes has to be the level of support I’ve received from my colleagues. As a first-year teacher, I obviously have a lot of questions, given this is a brand new job for me. Everyone has been so helpful and understanding. Brian Kelly, Sarah Lingle, and Andrew Seketa have all gone above and beyond to make sure that I am well-equipped to handle the responsibilities of being a Special Education teacher.