New director for activites

Among the new hires this school year is Student Activities Director Angela Hawkins, an Oak Park resident for more than 10 years who worked previously at Elmwood Park High School as an art teacher and student council sponsor. 

After having her administrative certificate for 14 years, Hawkins said she was drawn to the welcoming environment of OPRF. She applied for the position in order to “still have a lot of student interaction and contact, and to be a part of the school day without being so separated in an office,” she said.

For Hawkins to be hired, OPRF conducted three rounds of searching to identify the required needs of community members such as students, teachers, staff and parents. The goal was to “find an individual who could draw young people in and make sure they felt that connection,” said Principal Lynda Parker. Hawkins was an immediate stand out from her “great energy” to “enthusiastic nature about student causes and concerns,” according to Parker. 

After coming from a school with only 950 students, Hawkins has had quite a lot to adjust to in planning, scheduling, and executing events at OPRF, which has almost 3,500 students. “I’m learning a lot of information,” Hawkins said. “I’m trying to take lots of notes and get it all in. I’m excited.” 

Hawkins did an incredible job planning homecoming, according to Parker. “She was very open to challenges and she did (homecoming) very well,” Parker said. Hawkins worked closely with the student council, building and grounds, and faculty to make sure homecoming was a fun and safe experience for both students and staff.

As of now, Hawkins is working on the Tradition of Excellence Ceremony and the eighth grade tours, while also joining committees such as Culture and Climate. Hawkins has also made a point to use this year as an opportunity to learn about the school. “I know that… this year is going to be my year of just taking lots of notes and just asking people lots of questions,” Hawkins said.                                                                                                                                

Hawkins is using her role as Student Activities director to fully immerse herself in OPRF’s environment, taking part in student-led clubs and activities. Hawkins is also working to, “increase the amount of participation of the student body…and making sure that (OPRF’s) clubs are diverse, and actually mirroring the diverse demographics of our student body.”

Parker wished Hawkins the best this year so that, “she feels as acclimated as she can be within our space, and finds her proper footing so that she can see the things that she wants to see come about with student activities.”