1988 Benjamin District 25 Graduate Christopher Payton
Christopher Payton is a special education teacher at Batavia High School and also serves as the girls and boys soccer coach. Upon arriving at Batavia six years ago, he and another staff member worked together to create and develop a new Emotional Disturbance and Behavioral Disability program. With a focus on high academic rigor combined with social and emotional supports for the always increasing stress of being a teenage in today's society, the program allows students to remain at their home school and not be sent to an alternative educational placement.
He attended Evergreen Elementary School (1984-1988), graduated Benjamin Middle School (1992), and Community High School in West Chicago (1997). He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Augustana College and a master’s degree in special education from National Louis University.
Family includes Christina Lynne (spouse) and their children: Owen, 9; Juliet, 7; Tredway, 3; and Scarlett, 3 months. They make their home in Carol Stream and school-age children attend Evergreen Elementary School.
Many of his favorite memories were sports related---hitting the game-winning shot in the 8th grade semi-final basketball game and only losing two soccer games during his Benjamin career.
“I have many great memories of Benjamin School District but I think the greatest memories I have looking back are how the entire staff from teachers to administrators worked with me and my parents to help make me a successful student,” he says.
Teachers Who Made A Difference:
Payton recalls many great teachers but standouts include Chris Hudock, integrated language arts and reading, who he says knew how to motivate students and “always pushed me to go above and beyond.”
John Shalanko, PE teacher and the soccer/track coach, “reminded me of the importance of academics and taught many life lessons by using my passion for sports to motivate me in the classroom.”
Cornelia Vergara was one of the toughest teachers he encountered and one of the first teachers to show students how to use computers to type papers. “This was great because I always lost points for poor penmanship,” he recalls. “She pushed students to do more than ever imaginable and high school was easier because of her.”
Mark Bradbury's science classes always were fun and included one favorite science discussion revolving around whether dogs have feelings.
How Did Benjamin District 25 Prepare Me For The Future?
“Benjamin District 25 did a great job preparing me not only for high school but also the world beyond school,” states Payton, who says the staff always worked with him as an individual and worked with his family. “The district and its staff were always ahead of their time when it came to technology…not that technology was the most important thing, but it was always embraced. The district did a wonderful job challenging us to strive for more than average or just enough.”