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updated: 5/9/2014 11:28 AM

Meet the 2013-2014 Northwest Suburban Academic Team

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  • The 2014 Northwest Suburban Academic Team gathers at Harper College. Front row, from left: Emma Heckelsmiller, Palatine High School; Trent Cwiok, Elk Grove High School; and Sohum Chokshi, Conant. Middle row, from left: Paul Lewis, St. Viator; Mary Collins, Rolling Meadows High School; Robert Andrews, Fremd; and Tyler Harris, St. Viator. Back row, from left: Peter Kotecki, Buffalo Grove High School; Milan Patel, Hoffman Estates High School and Matthew Stadnicki, Hersey.

       The 2014 Northwest Suburban Academic Team gathers at Harper College. Front row, from left: Emma Heckelsmiller, Palatine High School; Trent Cwiok, Elk Grove High School; and Sohum Chokshi, Conant. Middle row, from left: Paul Lewis, St. Viator; Mary Collins, Rolling Meadows High School; Robert Andrews, Fremd; and Tyler Harris, St. Viator. Back row, from left: Peter Kotecki, Buffalo Grove High School; Milan Patel, Hoffman Estates High School and Matthew Stadnicki, Hersey.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Robert Andrews, William Fremd High School

      Robert Andrews, William Fremd High School

  • Sohum Chokshi, James B. Conant High School

      Sohum Chokshi, James B. Conant High School

  • Mary Collins, Rolling Meadows High School

      Mary Collins, Rolling Meadows High School

  • Trent Cwiok, Elk Grove High School

      Trent Cwiok, Elk Grove High School

  • Tyler Harris, St. Viator High School

      Tyler Harris, St. Viator High School

  • Emma Heckelsmiller, Palatine High School

      Emma Heckelsmiller, Palatine High School

  • Peter Kotecki, Buffalo Grove High School

      Peter Kotecki, Buffalo Grove High School

  • Paul Lewis, St. Viator High School

      Paul Lewis, St. Viator High School

  • Milan Patel, Hoffman Estates High School

      Milan Patel, Hoffman Estates High School

  • Matthew Stadnicki, Hersey High School

      Matthew Stadnicki, Hersey High School

 

Robert Andrews, William Fremd High School

Hometown: Palatine

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Parents: Patricia Andrews

Sponsor: Chris Grattoni, math teacher

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.111 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2300

Planned major: Mathematics, computer science

Awards, honors: Twice got a perfect score on the ACT; AP Scholar With Distinction; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "When I have a pencil in my hand and a plethora of numbers and letters in front of me, I do not feel anxiety; I feel excitement, I see a challenge to be faced head-on. Ultimately, I want to spread the joy of mathematics as far as I can, and becoming a professor will let me do that."

Sponsor's endorsement: "There are very few young people I have worked with who have demonstrated the same passion for mathematics as Robert. He has a superb academic record, but I really find his love of learning and desire to explore exciting mathematics even more remarkable. He is a cerebral and kindhearted young man, and ... he will make a great researcher and professor someday."

Sohum Chokshi, Conant High School

Hometown: Roselle

Parents: Chetan and Priti Chokshi

Sponsor: Richard Bauer, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.143 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 34; SAT: 2290

Planned major: Astronomy, creative writing

Awards, honors: National Merit Commended Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; Illinois State Scholar

Personal statement: "Many people dream but ... lose the motivation for the dream they once saw in the night sky among the stars. After a while, they turn away and refuse to look again. It's simply too much work. My passion for learning will allow me to explore any field. Because of it, I can trust myself to handle whatever career(s?) I choose."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I have never known a student as academically gifted as Sohum to also be as completely at ease with such a diversity of peers as he is. He is as strong an art student as he is an English/math/science student -- and yet it is his warm and welcoming demeanor that sets him apart from every outstanding high school student I have had the pleasure of working with."

Mary Collins, Rolling Meadows High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Parents: Shawn and Bill Collins

Sponsor: Stephen Traphagen, AP Biology teacher

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.64 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 30

Planned major: Biology or environmental science

Awards, honors: AP Scholar with Distinction; AP Human Geography Student of Year; Biology Student of Year

Personal statement: "My high school experience and my summer at the Green Earth Institute have propelled my passion for environmental biology; blogging about plant cancer and genetically modified organisms have influenced my decision to pursue environmental biology. I envision myself in five years performing research at a graduate school, analyzing the various environmental causes of cancerous mutations."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In a very strong year for AP Biology, Mary stood out. Not only were her exams and written work at the top of the class, but she showed maturity, curiosity and compassion I've rarely seen in a high school student."

Trent B. Cwiok, Elk Grove High School

Hometown: Elk Grove Village

Parents: Bradley and Sandra Cwiok

Sponsor: Kim Miklusak, English teacher

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.45 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Physics

Awards, honors: U.S. Presidential Scholars nominee; Prairie State Achievement Award; EGHS 7 Semester Honor Roll

Personal statement: "Both my achievements in music and avid pursuit of knowledge in physics had instilled in me a desire to be an innovator in whatever field of study I find myself pursuing. It is my hope that I will someday be able to change the way people see the world: Physics offers me that opportunity through an exploration of the physical world, and music gives me the chance to bring new perspectives mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to people."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Trent's qualifications could speak for themselves with his clear success in academics; however, what these scores don't speak enough about is his dedication, determination and positive risk-taking nature."

Tyler Harris, St. Viator High School

Hometown: Palatine

Parents: Kevin and Laura Harris

Sponsor: Principal Eileen Manno

Class rank: 1st out of 250 students

GPA: 105.21 on a 100-point scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Finance, economics

Awards, honors: Father Louis Querbes Scholar; Three-time Science Department Award recipient; Social Studies Department Award recipient

Personal statement: "President Kennedy described education as 'the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth,' illustrating a vision for academic work that transcends any class, test or GPA. Ultimately, the study of sciences and arts is really the pursuit of a much higher knowledge and truth. Such truth represents an echelon of perfection which inspires one's actions toward progress and fulfillment for all."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Tyler is remarkable in his humble approach to helping others and looking for the leadership potential in others. He chooses his projects wisely and does not seek attention. He is truly a servant leader and one of the best. We are so proud of the young man he has become."

Emma Heckelsmiller, Palatine High School

Hometown: Palatine

Parents: Dave and Jeanette Heckelsmiller

Sponsor: Richard Splitt, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 4.897 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36; SAT: 2160

Planned major: Biomedical/biosystem engineering (potentially pre-med)

Awards, honors: National Merit Scholarship Finalist; D211 Outstanding Achievement Award; AP Scholar with Distinction Award -- College Board

Personal statement: "My five-year goal is my bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering. My long-term goal is to complete medical school, following in the footsteps of my grandfather, and becoming the first woman doctor in my family. I am grateful I have a good work ethic, perseverance and tenacity, since these life skills have prepared me for the long road ahead to achieving this goal."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Her strength is obviously her intelligence. However, her enthusiasm and critical thinking abilities are rare. Emma is everything you would expect from a National Merit Scholar Finalist: intelligent, gifted, quick thinking, involved and a leader."

Peter Kotecki, Buffalo Grove High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Parents: Julian & Barbara Kotecki

Sponsor: Brian Linhart, counselor

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.62 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Chemistry

Awards, honors: ILMEA All-State Musician; co-principal clarinet of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra; National Merit Finalist; National AP Scholar

Personal statement: "Near the end of fourth grade, a series of circumstances left me orphaned. Consequently, I was forced to abandon my homeland of Denmark and migrate to the United States, where I found myself adjusting to a foreign language, a new family and an unfamiliar culture. In retrospect, I realize this significant change sparked my journey for self-discovery -- opening doors that allowed me to uncover personal strengths and various interests."

Sponsor's endorsement: "If you think about a mold to make the perfect high school student, Peter is one to consider. While it is obvious he holds himself to a high academic standard, what might not be as obvious is that he holds himself to this standard in all aspects of life."

Paul Lewis, St. Viator High School

Hometown: Hoffman Estates

Parents: Slater and Angie Lewis

Sponsor: Principal Eileen Manno

Class rank: 3rd out of 250 students

GPA: 103.4 on a 100-point scale

Test scores: ACT: 33; SAT: 1910

Planned major: Neurobiology

Awards, honors: Department Awards in math, English and social studies

Personal statement: "When I dream about my future, I think about working as a neurosurgeon, where I can care for my patients and provide a service that could change the lives of others. But in order to reach this destination, I must continue with my education, which will not only result in a physical change as I age but mentally develop my academic career and socially enhance my communal awareness and interaction."

Sponsor's endorsement: "When not busy with EYEsee (an international health mission) Paul is enrolled in the most challenging academic curriculum possible at our school. He is our senior class president, a writer for the school newspaper, a member of the tennis team and a member of his church youth ministry leadership team as well as the campus ministry team here at school."

Milan Patel, Hoffman Estates High School

Hometown: Streamwood

Parents: Kirit and Bhavna Patel

Sponsor: Tanya Katovich, science teacher

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.238 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 36

Planned major: Biochemistry or chemical engineering

Awards, honors: American Cancer Society Research Fellow; D211 Board of Education Recognition; National AP Scholar

Personal statement: "My life up to this point has been in preparation of the profession that will allow me to truly rejuvenate the world, one individual at a time ... I must work not only to further my own potential; I must work to further the potential of those around me. This is what it truly means to be a doctor."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Milan is an academic powerhouse ... but I believe his most endearing trait is his desire to make a significant impact on the world. What sets him apart is his passion for science and medicine. The combination of his passion and raw talent yields an extraordinary young man who has the ability to impact the world."

Matthew Stadnicki, John Hersey High School

Hometown: Prospect Heights

Parents: Danuta and Maciej Stadnicki

Sponsor: Brian Kemp, social studies

Class rank: School does not rank

GPA: 5.58 on a weighted 4.0 scale

Test scores: ACT: 35

Planned major: Economics, political science or history

Awards, honors: National Merit Commended Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; 12th place in state DECA -- Principles of Business Management

Personal statement: "Prior to debate, I was extremely shy and unconfident. (But) after that first speech, everything changed. I realized I couldn't live my life stumbling over my words and doubting myself. I had to escape my comfort zone. So I started participating in class more, I started helping my peers out, and I started living life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Although Matthew is one of the most intelligent students I have ever taught, what I will remember most is his incredible life perspective and generosity. He believes life is much more than simply the sum of its parts and sets out to make each experience as meaningful as it can be."

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