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updated: 6/13/2010 11:29 PM

2009-2010 DuPage County Academic Team

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  • Seated, from left: Elizabeth Andersen McKay, Mary Kate Nelson, Marilyn Creswell and Nancy Williams. Standing, from left: Teshika Jayewickreme, Basil Huang, Nicholas Biebel and Matthew Hartigant. Not pictured: Mohamed Abdallah and Anne Wei.

       Seated, from left: Elizabeth Andersen McKay, Mary Kate Nelson, Marilyn Creswell and Nancy Williams. Standing, from left: Teshika Jayewickreme, Basil Huang, Nicholas Biebel and Matthew Hartigant. Not pictured: Mohamed Abdallah and Anne Wei.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 

Northwest Suburban • Fox Valley • DuPage County • Lake County

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Mohamad H. Abdallah

College Prep School of America

Hometown Palos Park

Parents Habes Abdallah, Bothaina Zahdan

Sponsor Saad Quadri, dean

Class rank 1 out of 26

GPA 4.63 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 35; SAT 2350

College University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania or Northwestern

Planned major Economics and political science or math and physics

Awards, honors Coca-Cola Scholar; James Scholar Honors Program at University of Illinois; WYSE state level first place physics and second place chemistry; Fermilab Science Award

Personal statement "I now see obtaining an education as a means of broadening my understanding and expanding my capacity to help those around me. "

Sponsor's endorsement "There are many qualities that make Mohamad who he is. He is a skilled orator, a brilliant debater, co-captain of our basketball team, and a student leader. What makes him special is that he never let it get to his head. "

Nicholas Biebel

Glenbard North High School

Hometown Carol Stream

Parents Thomas and Catherine Biebel

Sponsor Sagar Gokhale

Class rank 1 out of 672

GPA 5.7273 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 36; SAT 2320

College Cornell University

Planned major Plant sciences

Awards, honors National Honor Society president; National Merit finalist; Presidential Scholar nominee; honor roll; Illinois State Scholar; District Honor Band

Personal statement "The idea of asking someone who is still 17 years old what his life goals are has become increasingly ludicrous to me lately - but only lately. Last year, for example, I thought I knew my life goals. I thought I had grasped them, but they were really just apparitions blown away by the winds of maturity. Of course, who knows if it is maturity? I certainly don't. In any case, my life goals are up in the air. My real question right now is not 'What are my life goals?' but 'Why do I have life goals?'"

Sponsor's endorsement "He demonstrates maturity, initiative, determination, and individual and civic responsibility well beyond his age."

Graduation photos - Glenbard North High School

Marilyn Creswell

Wheaton North High School

Hometown Wheaton

Parents Ronald and Kathryn Creswell

Sponsor Cynthia Budzikowski, teacher

Class rank 1 out of 453

GPA 5.81 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 32; SAT 2070

College Pomona College

Planned major Undecided, but possibly Spanish or linguistics

Awards, honors Math Honor Society president; National Honor Society; AP Scholar; Illinois State Scholar; Academic All-Conference

Personal statement "I have had much experience tutoring and teaching children, usually around 10 hours per week. I really enjoy being a part of how students learn material and I love working with youth. I have also had many opportunities to work with persons with disabilities, and I really love doing that. ... No matter what I end up doing, I hope to continue helping people and working hard to achieve my best."

Sponsor's endorsement "She is an incredibly successful student on both academic and extracurricular levels, she takes time to help others in need both inside and outside the classroom, and she is one of the kindest individuals you could come in contact with."

Graduation photos - Wheaton North High School

Matthew Hartigan

Glenbard East High School

Hometown Glen Ellyn

Parents Ken and Audrey Hartigan

Sponsor Evelyn Schneider

Class rank 1 out of 606

GPA 5.837 on a 5.0 scale

Test scores ACT 35

College University of Michigan, Purdue University or University of Illinois

Planned major Biomedical engineering

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar; National Honor Society; AP Scholar; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement "Today's world is plagued with problems and people in need of assistance. Having expertise in a field such as engineering would enable me to be more effective in my philanthropic endeavors by enabling me to provide lasting solutions to dilemmas rather than just 'Band-Aid' style relief. "

Sponsor's endorsement "This young man has outshined all other students with his humble, unobtrusive demeanor. The dedication, determination and work ethic he exemplifies is evident in the success he has in school, sports, church involvement and beyond. He truly touches the lives of everyone with whom he comes in contact."

Graduation photos - Glenbard East High School

Basil Huang

Fenton High School

Hometown Bensenville

Parent David Huang

Sponsor Lillian Reed, counselor

Class rank 1 out of 347

GPA 4.4545 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 33

College Northwestern University or University of Illinois

Planned major Industrial engineering

Awards, honors Illinois State Scholar; All-Conference Academic Team (2008, 2009); National Honor Society; AP Scholar

Personal statement "My accomplishments support my life goal, which is to take every opportunity for a better life. This simple, yet profound, goal was inspired by my mother because she moved to America with my father in order to give my siblings and me better opportunities. ... My mother set the high goal of having each of her five children go to college to achieve this dream."

Sponsor's endorsement "This individual is a quiet, dedicated and highly intelligent student. He has a work ethic and a dedication to academics that is well above and beyond that of other students. This student's mother passed away in March 2010, and I know that it is his wish to honor his mother's memory through his success in school and in life."

Graduation photos - Fenton High School

Teshika Jayewickreme

Naperville North

Hometown Naperville

Parents Dasarath and Roshani Jayewickreme

Sponsor Deb Green, counselor

Class rank 1 out of 781

GPA 4.740 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores SAT 2340

College Stanford, Yale or Princeton

Planned major Biology, biochemistry, bioengineering

Awards, honors Bausch-Lomb Honorary Science Award; National Merit finalist; AP Scholar; National Honor Society; Illinois State Scholar; Science Olympiad (state level competition)

Personal statement "When I first moved to the United States, I never imagined that I would one day compete to be the valedictorian of my class and win numerous academic competitions. All I ever wanted from America was a chance to go to college, a chance that my parents never received."

Sponsor's endorsement "The student is a thoughtful and, at the same time, dynamic young man who exhibits an ability to fully express his ideas. He is also quite confident, with limitless possibilities."

Graduation photos - Naperville North High School

Elizabeth Andersen McKay

Downers Grove N.

Hometown Downers Grove

Parents Rob and Becky McKay

Sponsor Melissa Carlson, English teacher

Class rank 1 out of 480

GPA 4.7826 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 35

College Tufts University

Planned major International relations

Awards, honors IHSA All State Academic Team; Bausch & Lomb Science Award; Le Grand Concours National French Competition; Illinois State Scholar; National Merit finalist

Personal statement "I recognize that I was blessed with a wonderful support network of family and teachers. For their sake, and for the sake of my dreams, I will never stop pushing myself to my full potential."

Sponsor's endorsement "In a time when student motivation and societal compassion has dwindled, Elizabeth is a ray of hope - hope that bright students can discover on their own, hope that considerate people can earn respect from peers, and hope that willing risk-takers can see their efforts pay off."

Mary Kate Nelson

Glenbard South High School

Hometown Glen Ellyn

Parents Michael and Rebecca Nelson

Sponsor Chuck Manson, counselor

Class rank 1 out of 314

GPA 5.74 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 32

College University of Notre Dame

Planned major English or Spanish

Awards, honors Spanish Honor Society; Quill & Scroll International Journalism Society; Illinois State Scholar; National Honor Society; Academic All-Conference

Personal statement "From then on, I understood that the extent to which my writing can impact others is limitless. Because of my experience in ACHIEVE, I look forward to pursuing an education and career in writing."

Sponsor's endorsement "What separates (Nelson) from other high achieving students is a very fine line. She seems to be just a little more organized, a little more focused, works a little harder, is a little more caring, etc. than other students. (Nelson) will go that 'extra mile' to accomplish her goal. She's intelligent and is a hard worker. It is a combination that guarantees success."

Graduation photos - Glenbard South High School

Anne Wei

Naperville Central High

Hometown Naperville

Parents Aichang Lu and Daniel Wei

Sponsor Michelle Kirincich, counselor

Class rank School does not rank

GPA 4.653 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34; SAT 2220

College Washington University in St. Louis

Planned major English and chemistry (biochemistry)

Awards, honors National Merit finalist; AP Scholar; District 203 Excellence in Education award recipient; Illinois State Scholar; National Honor Society

Personal statement "My school records proved that I could handle the academic vigor; my extracurricular dedication proved that I could handle the workload; my own convictions proved that I could handle the mental and emotional strain. I'm still keeping my options open I haven't limited myself to becoming a doctor, but, until I'm led elsewhere, I can't think of any more fulfilling way to spend my life."

Sponsor's endorsement "She is an honest, strong-willed young woman who is bright, positive and very motivated to learn in a challenging academic environment."

Graduation photos - Naperville Central High School

Nancy Williams

Willowbrook High School

Hometown Villa Park

Parents Gregg and Susan Williams

Sponsor Daniel Krause, principal

Class rank 2 out of 543

GPA 4.6939 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 32

College University of Wisconsin-Madison

Planned major English

Awards, honors Outstanding Senior of the Department-Social Studies; AP Scholar; Illinois State Scholar; National Honor Society; Science Honor Society

Personal statement "I have learned I cannot live with fear, but instead with hope and assurance in prosperity and a strong future. I have developed ways to deal with different people and how to embrace diversity. I plan to pursue a career in international studies and law. I have a passion for learning about the world's cultures and how they apply to my life."

Sponsor's endorsement "Nancy's work ethic, commitment and dedication to success are evident in all that she does. She is a visible member of our student body, leading by example in our hallways and classrooms. "

Graduation photos - Willowbrook High School

Honorable mentions

Laura Mariela Aranda

Lake Park High School

Hometown Roselle

Parents Ramiro and Margarita Aranda

Sponsor Gary Campana, counselor

Class rank 3 out of 725

GPA 5.56 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 33

College Loyola University, Northwestern University or University of Chicago

Planned major Political science or international studies

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, National Honor Society, Presidential Scholar, Spirit of Excellence Award Winner, National Hispanic Recognition Program scholar

Graduation photos - Lake Park High School

Alison Cesarz

Benet Academy

Hometown Downers Grove

Parents John and Antonette Cesarz

Sponsor Amy Wesley, counselor

Class rank 2 out of 324

GPA 4.41 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34; SAT 2280

College Washington University in St. Louis

Planned major Undecided

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar

Graduation photos - Benet Academy

Victor Chen

Naperville Central High School

Hometown Naperville

Parents Libin Chen and Ping Zang

Sponsor Pam McNeeley, counselor

Class rank School does not rank

GPA 4.725 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 35

College University of Chicago or Northwestern University

Planned major Chemistry

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar

Graduation photos - Naperville Central High School

Jermaine Dictado

Bartlett High School

Hometown Bartlett

Parents Faustino and Marie Gina Dictado

Sponsor Tom VanBooven, guidance counselor

Class rank 1st out of 635

GPA 4.863 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 33

College Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Loyola University

Planned major Biological sciences

Awards, honors Illinois State Leadership Conference State Finalist, 1st place Medical Math; National Leadership Conference - Nationals Finalist, 10th place Medical Math; Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering - Regionals; 2nd place English

Graduation photos - Bartlett High School

Christopher Easley

Wheaton Academy

Hometown West Chicago

Parents Dan and Lois Easley

Sponsor Margaret C. Becker, English teacher

Class rank School does not rank

GPA 4.63 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34; SAT 2260

College Wheaton College

Planned major Secondary education, English literature

Awards, honors John and Vera McNally Achievement Award, National Merit finalist, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society

Martha Fahlgren

Willowbrook High School

Hometown Villa Park

Parents Daniel and Nancy Fahlgren

Sponsor Daniel Krause, principal

Class rank 3 out of 543

GPA 4.6875 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34

College University of Chicago

Planned major Psychology

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, District 88's Best

Graduation photos - Willowbrook High School

Hinna Fatani

College Prep School of America

Hometown Villa Park

Parents Mohammed and Shahnaz Fatani

Sponsor Amanda Razeq, teacher

Class rank 2 out of 26

GPA 4.4909 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 30

College Benedictine University, University of Illinois at Chicago or Loyola University

Planned major Pre-pharmacy

Awards, honors AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, Chemistry Olympiad 6th in state

Sara Francesconi

St. Francis High School

Hometown Naperville

Parents Susan and Guy Francesconi

Sponsor Trudy Rigney, director of guidance

Class rank 2 out of 183

GPA 5.0486 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 33; SAT 2130

College Creighton University, St. Louis University or University of Wisconsin

Planned major Social work

Awards, honors Dartmouth College Book Award, Suburban Catholic Conference All-Conference (2006, 2007, 2008), National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, Presidential Scholar

Graduation photos - St. Francis High School

Naiomi Gunaratne

Lisle Senior High School

Hometown Lisle

Parents Kohila and Chitra Gunaratne

Sponsor Ron Logeman, principal

Class rank 1 (tie) out of 124

GPA 5.2742 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 35

College University of Miami

Planned major Medicine

Awards, honors National Merit finalist, Illinois State Scholar, National Honor Society

Graduation photos - Lisle High School

David Kelley

Wheaton Academy

Hometown West Chicago

Parents Ken and Linda Kelley

Sponsor Kori Hockett, assistant principal

Class rank School does not rank

GPA 4.6689 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 35

College Northwestern University, Grove City College or Wheaton College

Planned major Economics

Awards, honors John and Vera McNally Achievement Award, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society

Erika Lehmann

Fenton High School

Hometown Wood Dale

Parents Michael and Nancy Lehmann

Sponsor Lillian Reed, counselor

Class rank 2 out of 347

GPA 4.3542 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34

College Washington University in St. Louis

Planned major Architecture

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, All-Conference Academic Award

Graduation photos - Fenton High School

Kaitlin Maggiore

Montini Catholic High School

Hometown Lombard

Parents Jack and Eileen Maggiore

Sponsor Maryann O'Neill, principal

Class rank 2 out of 155

GPA 4.517 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34

College University of Notre Dame

Planned major Pre-medicine

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Thespian Society member

Graduation photos - Montini Catholic High School

Kelly Malinowski

Lake Park High School

Hometown Bloomingdale

Parents Paul and Diane Malinowski

Sponsor Christine Ward, counselor

Class rank 4 out of 725

GPA 5.54 on a 5.0 scale

Test scores ACT 34

College University of Illinois, Northwestern University or Bradley University

Planned major Undecided (considering mathematics, secondary education or psychology)

Awards, honors National Merit finalist, Honor roll, National Honor Society, Pride in Performance for Activities (Year 9, Year 11),

Graduation photos - Lake Park High School

Ryan Merkel

Addison Trail High School

Hometown Addison

Parents David and Laura Merkel

Sponsor Amy Ferraro, English teacher

Class rank 1 out of 458

GPA 4.69 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 32

College University of Chicago, Northwestern University or University of Illinois

Planned major Undecided

Awards, honors District 88's Best, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar

Michael Mirski*

Ill. Math and Science Academy

Hometown Naperville

Parents Dr. Aleksander and Beata Mirski

Sponsor Roberto Suarez, College and Academic Counselor

Class rank Students not ranked

GPA Not available

Test scores ACT 35; SAT 2360

College University of Pennsylvania

Planned major Finance

Awards, honors National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar with Honors, Illinois State Scholar

Emily Nash

West Chicago Community High

Hometown West Chicago

Parents Patrick and Sari Nash

Sponsor Kristina Mallon, mathematics teacher

Class rank 1 (tie) out of 477

GPA 4.0 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 32

College University of Iowa, Illinois State University or Northern Illinois University

Planned major Elementary education

Awards, honors Illinois State Scholar, PSAE Achievement Award, Honor roll, National Honor Society, Presidential Scholar

Graduation photos - West Chicago Community High School

Kevin Nguyen

Glenbard North High School

Hometown Carol Stream

Parents Duc and Mai Nguyen

Sponsor Janice Clark

Class rank 2 out of 672

GPA 5.7209 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 32; SAT 2030

College University of Notre Dame or Northwestern University

Planned major Psychology and business

Awards, honors Illinois National Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Spanish Honor Society

Graduation photos - Glenbard North High School

David Pankiewicz

Montini Catholic High School

Hometown Lombard

Parents Helen and Dave Pankiewicz

Sponsor Christine A. O'Neill-McManus, mathematics teacher

Class rank 1 out of 155

GPA 4.4688 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 36

College University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), Duke University or Dartmouth College

Planned major Economics

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Presidential Scholar

Graduation photos - Montini Catholic High School

Emma Peterson

Wheaton Warrenville South

Hometown Wheaton

Parents Ray and Michelle Peterson

Sponsor Julann Ferguson, counselor

Class rank 1 out of 508

GPA 5.8 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 34; SAT 2250

College Pomona College, Vanderbilt University or University of California, Berkeley

Planned major Economics, political science

Awards, honors Dean's List 5.0 Academic Award, National Merit commended scholar, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society

Graduation photos - Wheaton Warrenville South High School

Christina Rei

Naperville North High School

Hometown Naperville

Parents Chih-Wei Rei and Yazhang Wang

Sponsor Laurel Kennedy, counselor

Class rank 2 out of 781

GPA 4.702 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 33; SAT 2130

College Saint Louis University, University of North Carolina or Washington University at St. Louis

Planned major Medicine

Awards, honors Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, National Honor Society, AP Scholar

Graduation photos - Naperville North High School

Peter Rubino Jr.

West Chicago Community High

Hometown Carol Stream

Parents Peter and Christine Rubino

Sponsor Nancy Blume, division head for information technology

Class rank 1 (tie) out of 477

GPA 4.0 on a 4.0 scale

Test scores ACT 32

College Loyola University, University of Illinois at Chicago or Northwestern University

Planned major Biology

Awards, honors Illinois State Scholar, Honor roll, Illinois General Assembly recognition, National Honor Society, AP Scholar, Spanish Honor Society, National Leadership Award

Graduation photos - West Chicago Community High School

Aneesh Tyle

Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown Naperville

Parents Navin and Alka Tyle

Sponsor Chris Ruffolo, counselor

Class rank 12 out of 1100

GPA 4.49 on a 4.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 35; SAT 2230

College Vanderbilt University or MIT

Planned major Biomedical sciences (premedical)

Awards, honors Sieman Science Competition semifinalist, National Merit finalist, Illinois State Scholar, National Honor Society, AP Scholar

Graduation photos - Neuqua Valley High School

Matthew Zettinger

Glenbard West High School

Hometown Glen Ellyn

Parents James and Patricia Zettinger

Sponsor Sue Sanders, counselor

Class rank 4 out of 484

GPA 5.80 on a 5.0 (weighted) scale

Test scores ACT 36; SAT 2210

College University of Illinois

Planned major Engineering

Awards, honors National Merit commended scholar, National Merit semifinalist, National Merit finalist, Honor roll, National Honor Society, Presidential Scholar, Illinois State Scholar, Outstanding Junior Math Award

Graduation photos - Glenbard West High School

* Named a winner on the Fox Valley Academic Team

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