Sanchita Agrawal, Vernon Hills High School
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Sandeep and Sangeeta Agrawal
Sponsor: Nicholas Austin, counselor
Community service: Volunteers at park district teaching ballet, tap and jazz dance to girls; volunteer teacher at Hawthorn band and orchestra camp; leader in the adopt-a family program; has volunteered in Pediatrics Hematology and Oncology at Stroger Hospital and at Rush.
Personal statement: "My experiences and successes through Orchesis, FBLA, and robotics have provided me with skills for the future. These engagements have influenced my career choice and have encouraged me to develop into the individual that I am. I look forward to practicing these acquired skills and talents in my future endeavors in the engineering and business fields."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She has made it her ambition to be a lifelong learner. She dreams about studying medicine, business and engineering. The question is not, 'Will she succeed?' but rather, 'What will she choose to succeed in?'"
Magdalena Cychowski, Warren Twp. High School
Parents: Zdzislaw Cychowski
Sponsor: Trini Hartley, counselor
Community service: Organized concert for UNICEF Tap Project to buy a well for a community; attorney, juror and bailiff for Nicasa Teen Court; team leader, Juvenile Diabetes "Walk to Cure Diabetes"; fundraising participant for Relay For Life; Battle of the Bands organizer; spoke recently in honor of her mother, who died of cancer in 2010.
Personal statement: "I do not want my name in history books. I do not want my name to be glorified. All I ask is that whatever I pay forward continues a chain of positive occurrences; ones where the life of one person crashes into the next like a line of dominoes, catapulting our generation into one of positivity, change and genuine concern for each other's existence."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She is an extremely driven, independent, funny, creative and strong young woman, mature beyond her years. She has taken full advantage of all our school has to offer."
Sonia Doshi, Stevenson High School
Hometown: Long Grove
Parents: Dipak and Ginni Doshi
Sponsor: Brett Erdmann, community service coordinator
Community service: As president of the National Honor Society, led club to organize blood drives and charity fundraisers like Spirit Fest, which raised $20,000 for CASA of Lake County; freshman mentor in Talented Young Mathematicians program; joined the Model United Nations Help for Haiti campaign; planted trees in a rundown section of Cincinnati; helped organize a religious Midwest Youth Convention.
Personal statement: "The ability to pull together thousands of people and unite them for one cause was truly amazing. The ultimate goal of my life is now to lead others in any way, but to apply service to my life is, I realized, the most fulfilling action that I could take."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Sonia's greatest strength is her ability to work in small groups and drive consensus. She is extremely adept at communicating a compelling, challenging vision to her peers and forming an action plan. My AP Biology class unanimously voted Sonia Most Likely To Change The World."
Megan Ewan, Lake Zurich High School
Hometown: Lake Zurich
Parents: Dan and Lisa Ewan
Sponsor: Carl Krause and Craig Lehigh, counselors
Community service: Organized the high school club Lifeline to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues; has been the program director for a Girl Scout day camp; tutors and mentors younger children; Peer Ministry; volunteers at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital; earned Girl Scout Gold Award.
Personal statement: "I have completely changed as a person since these experiences. I used to have a hard time trusting people and was not comfortable in new environments. I have learned now to completely embrace everything life throws at me. I know I'll have bad days at times, but I'm just so excited to see how far I can go in this world and how much good I can do."
Sponsor's endorsement: "A difference-maker at our school ... Megan is not doing these things for recognition, but because she genuinely cares for others, empathizes with their plights. She said, 'It's important to show my ability to lead and make my own opportunities. I don't just wait for them to be made for me.'"
William Hennessy, Warren Twp. High School
Parents: James and Janice Hennessy
Sponsor: Katherine Duffy, counselor
Community service: Chaired Concert for Life two years, organizing a contact list of more than 600 local businesses and raising more than $43,000 the first year; on the junior executive board of the Aid Africa Children's Foundation walk/run; annual participant in March of Dimes and Relay For Life; organized, participated in multiple Future Business Leaders of America service projects.
Personal statement: "Working with people can be the most challenging aspect of leadership, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience it. I have learned how to build relationships and maximize each member's strengths. These skills will help me become a successful project manager and achieve my life goals."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Wonderful, kind and inquisitive, he impresses me by being an extremely outgoing individual … . He impresses me with his care, his generosity, his common sense and his belief in the goodness of everyone."
Kate Lee, Vernon Hills High School
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Hyun Kwan Lee and Ji Won Lee
Sponsor: Tiffany Heinlein, counselor
Community service: Teaches voice, organizes choir rehearsals and performances at nursing homes, businesses; volunteers, teaches and fundraises for COVE Alliance, which educates and provides health care to children in Uganda; member of First Class, a character education program that encourages diversity and service; senior class president; leader of her youth group worship team.
Personal statement: "Music has the power to transform individuals, communities and cultures. It is my dream to become a vehicle of this transformation. I want to perform in or conduct a choir at the DMZ line that separates my home country ... to build a fine arts school in inner-city Chicago ... to sing a Mozart opera with my parents in the audience, knowing it was through their sacrifice I was able to live my dream."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She not only displays exceptional leadership, but she is influential in encouraging cooperation, teamwork, and the value of life and helping others to her fellow peers."
Seamus Quilty, Carmel Catholic High School
Parents: Emmett and Elizabeth Quilty
Sponsor: Principal Lynne Strutzel
Community service: Logistics crew leader for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association events, assisting physically impaired athletes in competition; volunteered for Catholic Heart Workcamp; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; St. Patrick Parish and School.
Personal statement: "Each year at Christmastime, my homeroom sponsors a family and purchases gifts for them. This year, two children are asking for Legos, causing me to reflect on my childhood hobby of building Legos. Sometimes I would build from directions, other times I would not. As I prepare for college, I view my life as similar to those times where I built random creations. I have many interests and talents, but I am in the process of discovering how I can piece them together."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This young man is a natural leader who helps everyone: fellow students, teachers, parents and those in need. He is one of the nicest and most capable young adults in our school, someone who uses his gifts to make a difference."
Abhiram Sanka, Stevenson High School
Hometown: Buffalo Grove
Parents: Hari and Rani Sanka
Sponsor: Dave Eddy, student activities coordinator
Community service: Involved with Operation Click, encouraging students to embrace safe driving habits and the can collection drive for Vernon Township Food Pantry; Student Leadership Advisory Council liaison to administrators; on the Jefferson Award Student Leaders Committee, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary community service and volunteerism.
Personal statement: "Leadership, to me, means more than the ability of one individual bringing about change, but the ability of that individual to facilitate the growth and development of those around him or her to maximize the potential of the organization as a whole."
Sponsor's endorsement: "He is a master of self-management ... a student of exemplary character. He is trustworthy, reliable and patient. He is generous with his time and talents, humble and respectful of other students and their beliefs and attitudes. All these characteristics combine to make a leader that peers are glad to follow."
Katie Skorcz, Carmel Catholic High School
Hometown: Round Lake
Parents: Mark and Shari Skorcz
Sponsor: Principal Lynne Strutzel
Community service: Organized dances, coat drives, food drives, blood drives for local charities; religious retreat leader; service work in Omaha and Chicago; junior cheerleading camp counselor; youth group leader at St. Gilbert Church.
Personal statement: "To turn dreams into realities, I have always held myself to high standards ... pushed myself to accomplish one more objective and to take on another task. To become a successful mother and CEO (of Apple) will require just as much effort as it did to become a successful student council president, cheerleader and retreat leader."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She proves herself, again and again, to be a responsible, versatile and effective leader -- readily apparent in how quickly and easily other students open up to her graceful and encouraging presence. She has come to recognize that she has responsibilities to the community of which she is a part. This young woman is definitely someone who makes a difference."
Bianca Tomassetti, Libertyville High School
Hometown: Green Oaks
Parents: Mauro and Lisa Tomassetti
Sponsor: Nancy Stetter, counselor
Community service: Part of the 'Liv for a Cure Foundation,' created by Bianca's family after her sister, Olivia, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis; helps organize events and fundraisers with Athletes Committed to Excellence, encouraging drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles; a Link Crew leader, welcoming freshmen and teaching them how to live as mature high school students.
Personal statement: "My parents wanted to raise their three children as giving to be our second nature. When I finish school, I plan on continuing to raise funds and donating my time toward cystic fibrosis research ... educating people on how volunteering and donating can change someone's life."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She has grown to be an awesome, independent young lady. Her youngest sister has been admitted to the hospital for weeks at a time, and (then) Bianca takes over all the household duties. She never complains or uses this as an excuse for anything."