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updated: 5/25/2012 1:17 PM

Introducing the 2011-12 Daily Herald Academic Team

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  • The 2011-12 Northwest Suburban Academic Team, inside the Daily Herald's Arlington Heights office. Front row, from left: Emily Liquin, Palatine High School; Marianne Palczewski, Bartlett High School; Madeline Conway, Prospect High School; Connie Liou, James B. Conant High School. Back row, from left: Alex Linzmeier, Wheeling High School; Anand Patel, James B. Conant High School; Avni Bavishi, Hoffman Estates High School; Mengran Liu, Hoffman Estates High School; Joe Sessions, John Hersey High School and Antonio Spina, Bartlett High School.

       The 2011-12 Northwest Suburban Academic Team, inside the Daily Herald's Arlington Heights office. Front row, from left: Emily Liquin, Palatine High School; Marianne Palczewski, Bartlett High School; Madeline Conway, Prospect High School; Connie Liou, James B. Conant High School. Back row, from left: Alex Linzmeier, Wheeling High School; Anand Patel, James B. Conant High School; Avni Bavishi, Hoffman Estates High School; Mengran Liu, Hoffman Estates High School; Joe Sessions, John Hersey High School and Antonio Spina, Bartlett High School.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • The 2011-12 DuPage County Academic Team gathers at College of DuPage. From left: Emily Riederer, Naperville North High School; Adam Alfredo Ball, Glenbard North High School; Mia Frasca, Wheaton Warrenville South High School; Ashvin Rai, Neuqua Valley High School; Katherine McDonnell, St. Francis High School; David Birkenheier, Naperville Central High School and Amy Hummel, Wheaton North High School. Not pictured: Mohammed S. Fahad, College Preparatory School of America; Rebecca Lewis, Hinsdale Central High School; Zamaan Sohel, Lake Park High School.

       The 2011-12 DuPage County Academic Team gathers at College of DuPage. From left: Emily Riederer, Naperville North High School; Adam Alfredo Ball, Glenbard North High School; Mia Frasca, Wheaton Warrenville South High School; Ashvin Rai, Neuqua Valley High School; Katherine McDonnell, St. Francis High School; David Birkenheier, Naperville Central High School and Amy Hummel, Wheaton North High School. Not pictured: Mohammed S. Fahad, College Preparatory School of America; Rebecca Lewis, Hinsdale Central High School; Zamaan Sohel, Lake Park High School.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • The 2011-12 Fox Valley Academic Team outside the Daily Herald's Elgin office. Front row, from left: Connor Flexman, Elgin Academy; James Bartusek, Geneva High School; Michael Fitzpatrick, Marian Central Catholic High School; Alex Whitaker, Cary-Grove High School; Ryan Wyllie, Geneva High School. Bow row, from left: Anna Gawlik, St. Charles North High School; Alexandra Tarr, (Burlington) Central High School; Allison Dianis, Harry D. Jacobs High School; Madeline Bartot, Huntley High School; and Elisah Vanden Bussche, Harry D. Jacobs High School.

       The 2011-12 Fox Valley Academic Team outside the Daily Herald's Elgin office. Front row, from left: Connor Flexman, Elgin Academy; James Bartusek, Geneva High School; Michael Fitzpatrick, Marian Central Catholic High School; Alex Whitaker, Cary-Grove High School; Ryan Wyllie, Geneva High School. Bow row, from left: Anna Gawlik, St. Charles North High School; Alexandra Tarr, (Burlington) Central High School; Allison Dianis, Harry D. Jacobs High School; Madeline Bartot, Huntley High School; and Elisah Vanden Bussche, Harry D. Jacobs High School.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The 2011-12 Lake County Academic Team outside the Daily Herald's Libertyville office. Back row, from left: Lissa Mandell, Lake Zurich High School; David Bouma, Grant Community High School; Jonathan Kersky, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Patrick Juras, Lake Zurich High School. Middle row, from left: Elizabeth Ulanday, Libertyville High School; Nicole Schmidt, Mundelein High School; Ingrid Watts, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Hannah Kay, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. In front, Soledad Mendoza, Round Lake High School. Not pictured: Jenna Westerberg, Warren Township High School.

       The 2011-12 Lake County Academic Team outside the Daily Herald's Libertyville office. Back row, from left: Lissa Mandell, Lake Zurich High School; David Bouma, Grant Community High School; Jonathan Kersky, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Patrick Juras, Lake Zurich High School. Middle row, from left: Elizabeth Ulanday, Libertyville High School; Nicole Schmidt, Mundelein High School; Ingrid Watts, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart; Hannah Kay, Adlai E. Stevenson High School. In front, Soledad Mendoza, Round Lake High School. Not pictured: Jenna Westerberg, Warren Township High School.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 

Today, we introduce you to some amazing teenagers. The members of the 2011-12 Daily Herald Academic Team all have grades and test scores so stellar they could blind; they are all among the tops in their graduating classes. But when you read past the test scores, and the honors and awards, what you find are humble young people, dedicated to learning and intent on using education to further their goals.

"Everything that Alex has accomplished to date ranks a distant second to who he is as a person," writes one sponsor in the letter of recommendation schools had to submit for each candidate.

"She not only has the academic character but the leadership and personal character to match," writes another sponsor.

Public and private high schools in the Daily Herald readership area were invited to nominate a maximum of two graduating seniors for this award. Seventy-one schools nominated 119 students, and from them four teams were named -- in the Northwest suburbs, DuPage County, Lake County and the Fox Valley.

The Academic Team highlights student achievement, and grades and test scores are a big part of how that is weighed. But grades are not the only measure of achievement. Maturity and leadership, ambition and empathy all play a role. And as you peruse this year's team and the honorable mentions, you will not doubt that these outstanding young people have it, in spades.

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