District 214 students recognized on May 16 by Board of Education for accomplishments


The following students were recognized by the District 214 Board of Education on May 16, 2019 for their academic and co-curricular accomplishments. To view and download pictures, click here

Richard W. Calisch Arts Unlimited Award

Each year, the Richard Calisch Arts Unlimited Award is presented to the high school senior who best exemplifies creative excellence in the arts. This award is District 214’s way of honoring Mr. Calisch’s spirited commitment to and support of the fine and performing arts program when he was a teacher in District 214, a career that spanned more than 30 years. 

One student from each of our six high schools was nominated by the school’s fine and performing arts coordinator to receive this prestigious award and a committee was responsible for choosing the recipient, which was not an easy task! These talented students are committed to the arts, and the fact that they have been nominated to represent their schools in this process is an outstanding achievement in and of itself.

This year's Richard W. Calisch Arts Unlimited Award recipient Janelle Finton from Buffalo Grove High School is not able to attend tonight due to a prior commitment.

Prospect High School's Katie Jordan has excelled in everything she participates in: choir, show choir, theater and speech. As a sophomore, she earned fourth in state for humorous duet acting and qualified for nationals, where she finished among the top 60 in the country. The following year, as a junior, she earned second in the state for dramatic duet acting and finished among the top 30 speakers in the country. This year, Katie was named a state champion in dramatic duet acting. 

Katie has been the lead in several plays and musicals at Prospect and in District 214. Outside of these commitments, Katie played travel soccer. When she decided to pursue musical theater as a junior, she gave up soccer in order to focus on school musicals and speech. Katie has been a strong member of the theater department for the past four years, and she shows constant support and growth to the theater program.

Elk Grove High School's Allison Skiple has been a distinguished contributor to Elk Grove’s choral, speech, drama, musical and dance programs over the last four years. From the beginning of her high school career, Allison displayed tremendous enthusiasm, energy and talent, performing with various choir groups, orchesis, speech and drama productions, as well as participating in several co-curricular activities including musicals and variety shows. She also has represented EGHS as a featured performer in three District 214 summer musicals and twice was named a regional champion in speech.

Allison is highly focused, professional and always eager to make the entire group of performers achieve at their highest level. She shares her talents with other students as a choreographer, student director, peer coach and dance leader in dance and orchesis classes. In addition to her participation in performing arts programs, she is an AP Scholar, National Honors Society and seven-semester Honor Roll student, among other accolades.

Stephen D. Berry Award of Excellence

The Stephen D. Berry Award of Excellence -- given to our National Merit Finalists -- is a measure of lifetime learning; recognition of dedication to study and sacrifice of free time; recognition of parental support and encouragement; and acknowledgment of their future academic and leadership potential.

Dr. Berry is a former District 214 superintendent who has impacted the lives of thousands of students throughout his nearly 40 years in education. We are honored to have him with us this evening.

Recipients include Emilia-Maria Bondarenko, Alfred Roberts, Gabrielle Abrazaldo, Bailey Carlson, Clarissa Gomez, Zoe Hubbard, Grace Huberty, Luke Larson, Caroline Lubbe, Monica Moy, Charles Saunders, Robert Scherer, Diana Spulber, Aryana Thompson, Carter Zagorski, Ashley Adams,Madeline Borkowski, Annie Cimack, Alice Getmanchuk, Nathan Kowalski, Megan McNally, Helen Siavelis, Mary Stahlman, Ashley Welk, Chandrachur Kesana, Henry Kim, Giaden Halfman and Mehul Shukla.

National Hispanic Recognition Scholars

The College Board created the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) to identify and recognize outstanding Hispanic high school students. Students are considered for this recognition if they are of Hispanic/Latino descent, achieve a high PSAT/NMSQT score in the fall of junior year, have a B average GPA and complete an application. Every year, the NHRP recognizes about 5,000 of the 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT, or about 2% of all Hispanic/Latino test takers. 

National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars are Ryder From, David Reyes, Alexis Medina and Caitlin Mueller.

Redefining Ready! scholarship

This spring, we asked our District 214 seniors to tell the world, using a 30-second Twitter video, how they are college and career ready beyond a single test score. This project aligns with the Redefining Ready! initiative, launched in 2016 by District 214 and AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

Redefining Ready! is a multi-metric, research-based approach to readiness, based on the belief that students learn differently and should be able to demonstrate readiness in a variety of ways. We received more than 120 video entries in this competition from our seniors this year -- a nearly 70 percent increase from last year! They creatively and genuinely told us how they are prepared for future success because of their participation in Advanced Placement classes and co-curricular activities, their completion of internships, and their volunteerism inside and outside of school. 

Five of those entries were chosen to receive scholarships funded by the District 214 Education Foundation's generous donors.

This year's winners are Daniel Brandys, Serena Zhang, Abby Carson, Kuba Ciepiela and Julia Ward.

Buffalo Grove High School

IHSA State Journalism

Junior Sriman Narayanan placed fifth in Sports Writing in IHSA's State Journalism Meet on April 26 in Normal, IL. In this event, competitors have interview information on a person who is involved in sports, or watch a game and are provided game information, and then write a 400-word story based on the material within an hour and a half time frame. Judges look for interesting leads, accurate details, proper style and mechanics and commented specifically on Sriman’s ability to tie the end of his article back to the beginning.

At the same IHSA competition, sophomore Zoey Heinrich was named State Champion in Copy Editing. Students were provided a newspaper story that they edit for AP style, accuracy, attribution, correct paragraphing, grammar, spelling and redundancy. The state judge, in reaction to Zoey's editing on her feedback form/ranking sheet remarked, “I nearly wept seeing the job you did on this.” Zoey is the first student in the history of Buffalo Grove High School to become a State Champion in IHSA Journalism.

National German Exam

These students participated in the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) national German exam that is given to approximately 25,000 high school German students nationwide. The exam assesses language learners using a variety of authentic audio and literary media.

Sophomore Andrew Ruby, freshmen Eva Ruterschmidt and Ava Swenson and junior Anna Yelisseyeva scored in the top 10 percentile on Level 2 and also earned Gold Medals from the AATG.

Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Exposition

Sophomores Wedad Osman and Ella Palffy presented at the Illinois Junior Academy of Science (IJAS) State Exposition Paper Session on May 3 at Southern Illinois University after earning the highest scores at the regional. Their paper entitled, “The Effect of Cinnamon and Ginger Tea on E. Coli Growth” earned them a gold award in the Microbiology category. This is the highest rating that judges may award a paper, basing the recognition on creativity, logic and design. This was the second year in a row these students earned such recognition at the IJAS state exposition.

Elk Grove High School

National Italian Exam

The National Italian Exam is a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI). This test is administered to 5,500 students in the nation. Students were evaluated through a rigorous examination of their listening, grammar, vocabulary, culture and reading comprehension skills in Italian. Juniors Richard Belmonte, Julian Cisneros and Cinthia Dominguez took the Exam on March 18 and earned gold medals on Level 3. This is the first time EGHS students have received Gold Medals on the National Italian Exam.

National French Contest

This past November, sophomore Susan Johnson and freshmen Marina Mitrinovic and Megan Shafar participated in the National French Contest. This is a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) where students are evaluated on their reading and listening comprehension skills in French. Out of the more than 17,000 students who took the Level 2 contest this year, these three students ranked in the 95th percentile and earned Gold Medals.

John Hersey High School

National Spanish Exam

These students attained national recognition for excellent performance and earned Gold on the 2019 National Spanish Examinations. The Gold medal winners are freshman Ashley Smith, Level 2; junior Valentina Alvarez, Level 3; and juniors Dominic Borrelli and Dimitrios Hatzisavas, Level 4. Attaining a medal on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious because these exams are the largest of their kind in the U.S., with over 160,000 students participating in 2019.

ICTM Mathematics Meet

At the ICTM Regional Mathematics Meet in February, Hersey's entire Math Team qualified for the State Meet on May 4. While the whole team did very well, earning fifth place, the following event teams earned special recognition for their incredible performance at State.

The Oralists team of Ryan Carlson and Clarissa Gomez won first place.

The Geometry Team -- Lucy Cao, Ryan Carlson, Samantha Corley, Bryan Forrest, Max Huynh and Nathan Reed earned second place.

The Relay Team -- Evelyn Browning, Lucy Cao, Jason Gandrapu and Caroline Lubbe also took second place.

The Pre-Calculus Team -- Clarissa Gomez, Grace Huberty, Luke Larson, Caroline Lubbe, Charlie Saunders and Diana Spulber earned third place.

And the Junior-Senior 8 Person Team -- Michal Jucinski, Josh Shepard, Sam Stubbs, Lester Tai, Clarissa Gomez, Luke Larson, Charlie Saunders and Diana Spulber also earned third place.

Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival

Approximately 75 to 100 of the best bands in Illinois apply each year to perform at the Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival. Approximately 30 bands are chosen, and one honor band for each of the five classes is selected annually and does not compete the following year. This is the 18th year Hersey has been chosen to perform at Superstate, which is unprecedented in Illinois, and the fourth time they have been selected as Honor Band.

Students who represented Hersey's band at the May 16 meeting include Dominic Borrelli, Elizabeth Doulas, Nina Gillespie, Caroline Lubbe,Clara Menninga and Monika Smaga.

Prospect High School

IHSA State Journalism

Prospect's journalism program students brought home medals in five categories on their way to finishing second place in the state. This matches the best finish in the history of the program and marks the sixth time in the last 11 years they have finished in the top 10 in the state. The senior team of Kristina Hammerstrom and Madeline McTigue took sixth place in the Yearbook Theme Development competition. Senior Ayse Eldes took third place in Copy Editing and fourth place in Feature Writing, Mara Nicolaie, a sophomore, was named state champion in Advertising and senior Danny Ryerson was named state champion in Review Writing.

Rolling Meadows High School

National French Contest

The National French Contest is a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teacher of French. Students are evaluated for their written, oral and listening comprehension skills in French. Junior Audrey Bixby earned a Gold Medal in Level 4; and senior Lucia Skuldt achieved a Gold Medal in Level 5. Over 72,000 students in 50 states competed in the 2019 event. These two students are among the best in the nation.

National Italian Exam

On March 14 and 15, 94 Rolling Meadows students enrolled in Italian 1-AP classes took the National Italian Exam, and 23 earned national medals and honorable mentions in the annual National Italian Contest. This contest is a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian where 5,500 students in 50 states were evaluated for their written, oral and listening comprehension skills in Italian.

Freshman Arwen Bare earned a Gold Medal Level 2 and was one out of only 14 students nationally who received a $100 monetary award for earning a perfect score. Sophomores Paul Jablonski and Julia Zera also earned Gold medals in Level 2 and 3, respectively.

National Spanish Exam

Approximately 100,000 students participated in this year's National Spanish Exam from across the country. Out of 5,616 students from the Chicagoland area alone, senior Montserrat Diaz Moctezuma placed sixth overall on the Bilingual Level 2 Exam. She earned a Gold Medal, placing in the 97th percentile nationally.

Wheeling. High School

National Italian Exam

The National Italian Exam is a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian. The test is administered to 5,500 students in the nation, and students were evaluated through a rigorous examination of their listening, grammar, vocabulary, culture and reading comprehension skills in Italian.

Wheeling students who earned medals include Victor Gomez, Level 1 Gold, Nayely Contreras, Level 1 Silver, Giovanni Martinez, Level 1 Bronze, Leslie Gonzalez, Level 2 Gold, Leandro Cruz, Level 2 Silver,

David Martinez, Level 3 Bronze, Emmanual Valenzuela, Level 3 Bronze, and Rebecca McAtee, Level 4 Silver.

National Spanish Exam

This past April, Wheeling students participated in the National Spanish Exam. This test measures both achievement and proficiency in the language. These three students -- Junior Jarexy Garcia and seniors Diana Lima and Paulina Segovia -- earned Gold medals on the National Spanish Exam and placed in the top 95th percentile of all bilingual students in the nation. This is the second medal for both Jarexy and Diana who won silver and gold medals last year.

Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Science Fair

Students from Wheeling’s Nanotechnology classes competed in the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Science Fair in Carbondale, IL on May 4. To participate in this competition, students had to research a topic, design and do a science experiment, present the project and earn a qualifying score at the Regional Science Fair. Wheeling students took home more gold medals than ever before at this year’s state competition.

Jackson Gross received the American Water Works Association Illinois Section Outstanding Water Project Award. Additionally, he received the Jay Ford Takeda Award and Southern Illinois University Outstanding Chemistry Award.

Gurleen Kaur received a Gold Award for his project, Soil Microbes Influence on Restoration of Endangered Mulanje Cedar Trees.

Emily Wachter earned a Gold Award for her project -- Effect of String Material on the Stabilization Period of a Bass String and Best of Category, Product/Consumer Science.

Jasmine Kee and Alex Rotberg earned Gold Award for their project, Evaluating the Ability of Ferrofluids to Clean Up Oil Spills.

John Smith and Brandon Zettek earned a Gold Award for their project, A Tribology Study on Materials Used for Joint Replacement.

Taylor Gutt and Emily Lucas earned a Gold Award for their project, Effect of Hexanal Exposure on Cavendish Banana Ripening Post-Harvest.

David Martinez and Brian Rayburn earned a Gold Award for their project, Fluoride Removal From Tea Using Metal-Organic Framework to Avoid Fluorosis.

Gracie Bouchard and Emmy Flessas earned a Gold Award for their project, The Effectiveness of Window Tint on Heat and UV Reduction in Vehicles.

Fernando Olvera and Tyler Polak earned a Gold Award for their project, Effect of Water Erosion on Roughness in Rock Tumbling.


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