Three seniors selected by Maine Township High School District 207 as "207's Best" for January have been recognized by the Board of Education.
All three -- Jesús Cisneros of Maine East, Gabby Vildziunaite of Maine South and Nicolette Schwartz of Maine West -- were recognized for Improved Performance.
Introducing Gabby Vildziunaite to the board, Maine South Principal Shawn Messmer explained that she struggled academically when she began her career at South and that spending time with friends and fitting in socially sometimes took precedence over school work.
But, Messmer said, after Gabby's parents took steps to push the "reset button" on her high school career, Gabby showed signs of real maturity and improved focus.
"We are proud of Gabby at South for many reasons," Messmer said. "In particular, she exemplifies a central idea at Maine South, and that is: it is not the mistake you make that matters, it is how you choose to respond once you have made it that matters most. Gabby has chosen to respond by being an advocate for herself and others in our building, she has responded by setting long- and short-term goals and working hard to achieve them."
Gabby told board members that she is interested in pursuing pre-med education.
Jesús Cisneros ranks in the top 20 percent of East's senior class, with a 3.57 GPA. He currently counts two Advanced Placement classes among his courses. He also plays soccer for East. In his introductory letter, East Principal Michael Pressler noted that Jesús, as a freshman, was in the Integrated Freshman Literacy program, taking transitional-level courses. As he worked his way through East, he took increasingly rigorous courses.
"He pushed himself to do his personal best, frequently expressing to his teachers, coaches and peers that education is the ticket to the dreams for the future that he holds for himself."
Dr. Pressler's letter quoted Applied Technology teacher Becky Stewart, who noted that "I have had Jesús both his sophomore year and his senior year. It is amazing to see his growth as a student."
Jesús said he plans to study business administration at Elmhurst College or Dominican University.
In introducing Nicolette Schwartz, Maine West Principal Audrey Haugan noted that Nickie has recorded a slight increase in her cumulative grade-point average every single semester since she entered West as a freshman, a feat that not only requires persistence but that also becomes more difficult mathematically with each new semester.
Dr. Haugan wrote that Nickie had a "self-realization during her sophomore year that she could and should probably do better in school."
And now, Dr. Haugan said, she is on the brink of breaking the 3.0 mark on her GPA. Dr. Haugan quoted Nickie's counselor, Brian Nagorzanski, as saying that "Nicolette sure did get herself on track after her freshman year. It's not that she had a 'bad' freshman year -- she just continued to get better and better each year and is now getting all A's and B's."
Nickie told board members that she plans to attend Columbia College, where she will major in either art design or illustration.
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