Memories of A. Philip
Randolph School in Chicago
Here are some memories that I have received from former students:
After I posted the following on the Randolph Facebook page, I got a
reply from Latisha Collins that cracked me up.
I had a Randolph web page in
the late 1990s before most people were asking, "What is the
Internet" I was able to salvage most of the things that the CPS had
archived. I then put it on my http://www.lopatka.net
LaTisha, you are killing me with laughter. You thought I created the Internet? Al Gore was
accused of claiming to do that. I did get introduced to the Internet in the 1990s at a GLOBE workshop and I received a certificate that was signed by Al Gore.
Hello Mr. Lopatka,
I don't think you remember every student that has
passed through your class but I was really happy when my
sister Blanca discovered the Randolph facebook page. My
sister Blanca, My brother Rey and I have such fond
memories of our time at Randolph, especially the
science class where I remember spending extra time in
lab because I loved it so much. It also made me smile when
thinking about the Randolph nature trail and how I
was able to help at such a young age. I haven't visited the
school since I graduated but is the Trail still there and
of use to the teachers there now?
I just wanted to thank you for such wonderful memories
of elementary school and tell you that you were a
wonderful teacher who I will always admire greatly.
This is me in 1963 working in the Head Start
Summer Program at Jenner School.
T Sanders-Opara I
have so many favorite times I should have majored in some kind of
science but I was too lazy.
J Porter That
Reminds Me Of The Time We Went On That Camping Trip Mr. Lopatka. Not
sure what year It was, But I remember the day we were coming back,
your daughter had just gave Birth and you wanted to hurry up and get
back Home. That was the Best Camping Trip I Had Ever Had! science
was one, If not my Best Subject & class There, I loved Your
Class Mr. Lopatka
(That had to be
around the year 1991 when my grandson Jeff was was born. Mr. L.)
I was so happy to see one of my elementary school
teachers on facebook and thought I'd stop by and say
hi... I was one of the Arab kids attending Randolph
at the time you were teaching science. My first
microscope experience was in your class and I
remember the balloon assignment we did where we tied
notes to them and let them fly in the air in hopes
of reaching pen pals from across the globe. Well now
I'm all grown up and do those activities with my kids
Just want to let you know that you are a blessed man
and I appreciate you.
I remember the day I came to school with a burn on my
hand. You cut open your aloe plant and made it feel so
Hi this is John Snowden. Thank you for giving me a way to contact
you! I am so happy to be reconnected to one of my favorite and most
influential people that I have ever met. We will talk soon.
Please give my email to Mrs. Spathies, I would love to keep contact
So far as memories, OMG where do I begin?? Well, I'll start with
the most stand out memory. That would be winning the
Randolph science fair. I forgot what year that was, I will have to
go back and look at the TROPHY! Anyway, I remember winning it on a
science project that followed several pairs of parakeets (budgies)
through pairing, mating, and the raising of their young. There was
no other science project in Randolph that was quite as unique as
that one. The funny part about it was, that project came out of
nowhere. I think it actually intrigued every judge and students
alike, because I kind of knew what I was talking about when it
came to their questions. After I won that contest, it was on to
the district competition. Mr. Lopatka challenged me everyday I
stayed afterwards to make sure I was prepared for the contest. He
also challenged me to dig deeper to find something else intriguing
to talk about and to be able to scientifically test my
results. So I went home and came back with data of the different
color combinations of the babies that came from particular
parents. I knew enough to know certain color combinations brought
up certain colors in the babies. So we went with that and Mr.
Lopatka made me study it. I remember staying after school several
times working on the display. I was very nervous at the
competition and I remember Mr. Lopatka making jokes. When it was
all said and done, I didn't win, I believe I was one of the
runners up because I have the plaque for it still. Mr. Lopatka told
me that he was proud of me and the effort I showed and my Mom was
too, she was there. I think Mr. Lopatka took me to McDonalds
As a side hobby and sometimes a 2nd income, I have
taken up photography. I generally deal in portraits such as
fashion and glamour. But every now and then I will venture out
to do something different. Here is a example of what I do in my
spare time. If you remember my older sister Nathalie, she is the
woman in the picture.
Hello Mr. Lopatka, I graduated from
Randolph in 1992. Just wanted to let you know that you
were an inspiration to me. Your lab helped spark my
Thanks Shawn, that means a lot to me. What are you
doing these days, I'm retired and spoiling my grand
I'm currently an operations supervisor at
Abbott Labs. I attained a BS in Chemical Engineering in 2002 and
I'm currently at Northwestern University pursuing a business
certificate in Finance for the purposes of pursing my MBA. I
have two children myself. It's good to hear you're spoiling your
grandchildren. I'm sure your children are envious of them. Lord
knows my mother spoils my kids, giving them everything they
want. However, I don't quite remember her being so much
"fun" when I was growing up lol.
Hi Mr. Lopatka!
I'm doing well! I'm so glad it's spring. I love this time of the
I was just on Facebook again and several people would like to get in
touch with you. You have had a tremendous impact on people pursuing
careers in the sciences, myself included!
Jennifer Hymon asked me to tell you that you inspired her to become a
pharmacist. She along with Jermaine Saunders and Shiana Knight are all
asking for your e-mail address! You are quite popular, respected
Hello Mr. Lopatka, I am not sure if you remember me but I attended
Randolph magnet school from 4th grade to 7th grade. I have a twin sister
named Shiwana Knight. I will be 27 in May so it's been a long time (lol)
I've been wondering how you were doing over the years, you stood out as
one of my favorite teachers. I remember when you used to let some of the
students take home guppies from your fish tank in the Science Lab and I
also remember bringing you berries from the berry bush in my backyard. I
also had a cousin who attended Randolph that you may remember, her name
is Shamica Mcclay.
I now have 2 kids, so does my sister. I just wanted to say hello and
make sure that you are doing well. Someone by the name of Leticia
Drakeford was nice enough to send your contact info to my inbox on
Facebook. Thanks for being a great science teacher and staying in my
memory over the years. Have a great day!!!
I sent Shiwana the following e-mail:
Thanks for taking the time to send me some kind words. It always
amazes me when students contact me and tell me what they remember. I
forgot all about those guppies, but I remember the berries, thank you.
Don't feel old at 27, I just had my 70th birthday in February. I
retired in 2001, but my daughter Debbie is still at Randolph teaching 2nd
grade. I am in good health after getting 2 hip replacements.
I'm still playing ice hockey with my sons and grand kids. We have 8
grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. I have many pictures on my
website at: http://www.lopatka.net/
My granddaughter is playing softball on the Romeoville High
School we enjoy going to all of her games.http://www.lopatka.net/Morton-softball/index.htm
I have some links to Randolph School web pages that I posted
in my final years there including Derrick Rose's basketball Stats: http://www.lopatka.net/Derrick-Rose/index.htm
Please send me some other things you remember when they pop into
your head, and feel free to share my e-mail address with any of my former
Thanks, Greg Lopatka http://www.lopatka.net/
Shiana replied below to my e-mail
|OMG Mr. Lopatka! You look the same exact way as you
did when I was in grammar school!! lol
Thank you so much for the links, you have a beautiful family and
everyone seems to be very happy. I enjoyed the older pics of you
and your fam. I also enjoyed the pictures of the old cars and televisions.
I also checked out the pics of Steve Baskerville. I remember him
visiting the school and I can't remember what I asked him
but you told me later "that was a great question" I
also remember the nature trail!! I really enjoyed it. I remember
sitting on the logs and everything. I remember you taught the
students to make a bottle rocket out of a 2 liter pop bottle. I
am not sure if you remember but my father made a stand for the
bottle rocket and you really liked that idea. You liked it so
much that you asked if you could keep it to show to other
students in other classrooms :)
I have to dig up some pics of how you may remember me and my
sister and email them to you one day soon. Until then, here are
some pics of me, my sister and kids. My son tries to look
"cool" on pictures and does not smile at times lol. I
hope you have a wonderful day and I really appreciate you
responding back to me. That means a lot. Shiwana
Girl!!!! Don't you be thankin me for respondin to you! (Sorry
for the poor spelling, but I slipped back into my Randolph speak)
I want to thank you for digging some old fond memories of my days at
Randolph. Students like you with caring parents were a joy to have
and many times you were neglected because the "Knuckleheads"
kept us teachers busy. I do remember your Dad's rocket launch pad
and he will happy to hear that I made one for myself. I am going to
launch some rockets at 2 schools in Naperville next month, Tell your
Dad thanks. I also do a rocket launch for my Grandson's school
in Romeoville. He brags to his teacher and then I get a call.
Thank you for the Nature Trail Memory, I attached a picture of the
article that Hilda (That wonderful clerk) laminated for me. You
never would think that was Trail was in Englewood. Do you remember
what that Nature Trail sign was made of? We were lucky to have Mr.
Washington, (God rest his soul) who a wonderful Principal that let me
work "Out of the Box" If he was still there, I might still be
working. When he retired, I knew it was time to move on after a year
of teaching "in the Box" and I am glad I did move on, I'm
having the time of my life. I just got back from playing hockey in
Nashville with my sons. I even scored a goal! Pictures are posted here
I see you got into my Memories Page, I am going to start a
Randolph School Memories thanks to you. Please tell your friends to dig
into their brains and send me some thoughts and memories. I love
pictures too, BTW, you and your sister look great, May I use that
picture on my Randolph School Memories page?I have a Memory page for
my Grade school in the early 50s and my High school days in the late
50s.This one will let you see what I was like in grade school. http://www.lopatka.net/St.Mark/index.htm
You won't want to miss this one, it has my future wife an me at our1958
Senior prom http://www.lopatka.net/50threunion/stories.htm
Now don't tell me I still look the same! LOL
LOL, well my bad Mr. Lopatka! You know i know the lingo,
feel free to revert back to "Randolph speak" whenever you want!
I love it!
I love seeing older pics. It is indeed a treat that I did not expect
when first contacting you. I bet you guys had a lot of fun in Nashville
with your boys. You scored a goal? I bet that was exciting!
I am glad you remember the bottle rockets, I had fun with that. It is
cool to see that you are still into that. Makes me smile. Thank you for
that article about the nature trail, it brings back great memories. I
always looked forward to it each time we went back there. I do remember
Mr. Washington and was sad to find out through facebook that he passed
away. He seemed to be a great guy and it was nice of him to see your
vision and let you "do you" (i hope that made sense)
Mr. Lopatka, YOU DO LOOK THE SAME!!!! STOP IT!! LOL
I don't mind you using our pic, I would be honored to be included in
what you have in store. I am also happy that I inspired you to create a
Randolph school memories page thanks to me, that would be great.
There are 194 members in the Randolph school group on facebook, I will
be sure to spread the word to other students in the group. I can't wait
to see what you put together!!!
|Hanan posted something on your Wall and wrote:
"Wow you still look the same. I remember your class like it was
yesterday, I enjoyed everything that you taught us. I graduated in 93
and I so miss everyone."
Hi Mr. Lopatka, This is Dionne Cooks, I won 3rd place in Randolph's
Science Fair, thanks to you. I still have my trophy. I did the
difference between Natural and Synthetic Fibers. I hope you remember
me, you were a big impact on my childhood. Thanks Mr. Lopatka for
everything! The school system today needs more Mr. Lopatkas
In early April, 2011, I got a Facebook Friend request from Aaron
LOPATKA YOU USED TO BE MY SCIENCE TEACHER AT RANDOLPH. I
JUST WANTED TO SAY HELLO AND I AM ANOTHER OF YOUR X STUDENTS
THAT IS DOING WELL. THNX FOR THE GOOD TIMES BACK THEN.
This picture was posted on Facebook by Jessie
Mcknight. That is me with my 4th grade
Pittman said," That's me in the
brown sweater in the front row." Kawauna Pittman
Grade Class Picture with Mrs. Warfield. Front Row (L to R): Bobby
Roberson, Paul White. Second Row: Karen Perkins, Jennifer Vannoy,
Franchesta Tyson, Denita Forrest, Shinic Davis, Aisha Webster,
Latierra Pargo, Stefanie Newell. Third Row: Aaron Riddick, Shawn
McKay, Hamilton Boswell, Casey Lockhart, Reginald Rose, Tommy Young,
Dwain Brooks, Ishan Rashid. Last Row: Tanya Bennett, Francine,
Leticia Drakeford, Latrice Mathies, Lisa Jacoby, Artrice Bunzy,
Marie or Maria Smith, Tonisha Brown, Lachonda Cook. —
Fourth grade class picture. Constance Banks was our teacher.
Front row (L to R): Paul White, Little Eric, Bobby Roberson, Aaron
Riddick. Second Row: Constantine, Virginia Macon, Karen Perkins,
Jennifer Vannoy, Franchesta Tyson, Denita Forrest, Sandora Tyler.
Third Row: Jason Kuri, Kenneth Yarn, Ishan Rashid, Shawn McKay,
Orlando Franklin, Tonisha Brown, Leticia Drakeford, Tanya Bennett,
Tiffany Fulton, Stefanie Newell, Latierra Pargo, Aisha Webster. Last
Row: Selena Cook, Juanita Flowers, Artrice Bunzy, Latrice Mathies,
Lisa Jacoby, Reginald Rose, Rodney Wilson, Othello Johnson, Tommy
Cook in Chicago.
grade class picture. Collette Meus was our teacher.
First Row (L to R): Paul White, Jason Kuri. Second Row: Constantine,
Karen Perkins, Virginia Macon, Franchesta Tyson, Denita Forrest,
Mary Ann Sullivan, Sandora Tyler. Third Row: Bobby Roberson, Ishan
Rashid, Orlando Franklin, DeJesus, Kenneth Yarn, Rodney Wilson,
Reginald Rose, Aisha Webster, Latierra Pargo. Last Row: Tiffany
Fulton, Stefanie Newell, Leticia Drakeford, Keisha Douglas, Marie or
Maria Smith, Latrice Mathies, Lisa Jacoby, Jennifer, Deneen Davies,
Tonisha Brown, Tanya Bennett. —
Ollie and Tanya
Gigi Hillary Hi Mr.
Lopatka.. I'm studying to become a pharmacist!! Thanks for introducing me
to science. Wow! I remember when we first started the Nature
trail... The best period of the school day...c/o94