2015-2016 DuPage County Leadership Team

  • Winners of the 2015-16 DuPage County Leadership Team gather at College of DuPage. Top row, from left: Mohit Patel, Fenton High School; Michael King, Glenbard South High School; and William Marchese, Wheaton North High School. Middle row, from left: Nicole Popow, St. Francis High School; Claire Larkin, Glenbard East High School; Francesca Sikora, Montini Catholic High School and Tushar Dwivedi, Neuqua Valley High School. In front, Kyra Conroy, Naperville Central High School and David Kwok, Hinsdale Central High School. Not pictured: Alice Cecilia Reid, Benet Academy.

      Winners of the 2015-16 DuPage County Leadership Team gather at College of DuPage. Top row, from left: Mohit Patel, Fenton High School; Michael King, Glenbard South High School; and William Marchese, Wheaton North High School. Middle row, from left: Nicole Popow, St. Francis High School; Claire Larkin, Glenbard East High School; Francesca Sikora, Montini Catholic High School and Tushar Dwivedi, Neuqua Valley High School. In front, Kyra Conroy, Naperville Central High School and David Kwok, Hinsdale Central High School. Not pictured: Alice Cecilia Reid, Benet Academy. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
Posted1/14/2016 5:14 AM

Kyra Conroy, Naperville Central High School
Kyra Conroy, Naperville Central High School
Kyra Conroy, Naperville Central High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: David and Kristen Conroy

Sponsor: Barry Baldwin, JKB sponsor

Community service: J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation; Our Saviour's Lutheran Church Haiti mission trip; school Adapted Physical Education Peer Mentor Program; Our Saviour's Lutheran Church choir mission tours; school Link Crew mentor

Personal statement: "In junior high, I was the only student on career day who had no idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life; I wanted to help others, that was all I knew. Now, as a senior, I have a defined path of where I want the rest of my life to take me, and that path is based on my core value of serving others."

Sponsor's endorsement: "There is no way to mention all the accomplishments Kyra has achieved over the years I have known her. From something as simple as sending care packages to troops overseas to helping raise money for blankets which are made and given to Children's Memorial Hospital, Kyra has touched the lives of her fellow student and the less fortunate she will never meet."

Tushar Dwivedi, Neuqua Valley High School
Tushar Dwivedi, Neuqua Valley High School
Tushar Dwivedi, Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Yogesh and Aparna Dwivedi

Sponsor: Susa Janes, guidance counselor

Community service: The Alive Center, student advisory board; Edward Hospital teen volunteer program; Museum of Science and Industry youth development programs; Naperville Safety Town volunteer; KidsMatter junior board

Personal statement: "I quickly realized that my identity is much more than my future career; it has its roots in my core values and passions. Throughout high school, I have had many opportunities to give back, whether it be to the inner city kids of Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry, gentle patients of Edward Hospital, or to the teens of Naperville; with each experience, I have been able to shape the lives of the people around me, while discovering both my passion for science and my defining values."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Tushar is one of the most outstanding students I have had the pleasure to work with in my career. I am so excited to see what Tushar accomplishes in the future."

Michael King, Glenbard South High School
Michael King, Glenbard South High School
Michael King, Glenbard South High School

Hometown: Wheaton

Class: Senior

Parents: Marybeth King

Sponsor: Tim McGrath, school counselor

Community service: Community service through church; Key Club, community volunteering; National Honors Society, community service

Personal statement: "My mom was a catechist for my local parish, and she gave me the idea of writing to the families of fallen soldiers in my community, asking them how they are doing and giving them some simple words of encouragement. Honestly, I was not that thrilled. I did not really want to sit down and write letters, of all things, to people who I did not even know. Nonetheless, I sat down and started the process of learning about each fallen soldier, who they were, what their story was, and then I wrote to the families. I never anticipated how moved I would be by the stories of these men and inspired by what they had done."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Mike takes life as it comes, faces his obstacles with a calm demeanor and never seems to falter."

David Kwok, Hinsdale Central High School
David Kwok, Hinsdale Central High School
David Kwok, Hinsdale Central High School

Hometown: Westmont

Class: Senior

Parents: Jimmy and May Tung Kwok

Sponsor: Maggie Hilding, school counselor

Community service: Personal vacation retreat to mainland China, volunteered at an orphanage; helped start a philanthropic restaurant; Civic Leadership Institute; tutored low-income children in Hong Kong; school Peer Leadership Club

Personal statement: "I decided to create Olive Theory Pizzeria, a restaurant that would provide not only food to the less fortunate but also an education by donating one pizza for every ten sold and giving a portion of the proceeds to local scholarship foundations. We believe we can do more; upon expanding to critical mass, we will create a foundation that will support individuals who go above and beyond to give back to their communities. With the help of my two older brothers, I was able to make my dream a reality."

Sponsor's endorsement: "David demonstrates exceptional accomplishment, commitment to service, and a clear vision. He understands the very essence of leadership."

Claire Larkin, Glenbard East High School
Claire Larkin, Glenbard East High School
Claire Larkin, Glenbard East High School

Hometown: Lombard

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Laura Larkin

Sponsor: Christopher Pietsch, teacher

Community service: Student Council, school leadership and volunteerism; Senior Leaders, school leadership and volunteerism; Loyola University Medical Center volunteer; National English Honor Society; Lombard Lilac Juniorettes

Personal statement: "Throughout my four years of high school, I have had the chance to do almost everything. But there was one experience that shed the light on my professional path: volunteering. My future career goal is to become a doctor, but not just any doctor. After practicing as a physician for a few years in the United States, I hope to be a part of Doctors without Borders and travel to Third World countries. I will provide essential medical help to people who do not have access or cannot afford care."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is an extremely hard worker and leads by example in that regard. Perhaps most importantly, she has really improved in controlling her emotions, an exceptional quality in her expanding leadership."

William Marchese, Wheaton North High School
William Marchese, Wheaton North High School
William Marchese, Wheaton North High School

Hometown: Wheaton

Class: Senior

Parents: Susan and Paul Marchese

Sponsor: Kim Wittersheim, counselor

Community service: Illinois Association of Junior High Student Councils Summer Leadership Camp; student council; Freshman Access Advisor Program; Illinois Association of Junior High Student Councils, fundraiser for charity; grassroots political organizing

Personal statement: "Student council has always been central to my identity. Since the middle school statewide service project I conducted for the Autism Society of Illinois, I have always relished student council's ability to ignite institutionalized change. In high school, I organized school events that offered students inviting spaces for fun. After years of such events, though, I began to wonder how I could more broadly affect change."

Sponsor's endorsement: "When I think of Billy the term Apollonian comes to mind, not necessarily as defined as considering him godlike, yet rather harmonious, measured, or balanced of character."

Mohit Patel, Fenton High School
Mohit Patel, Fenton High School
Mohit Patel, Fenton High School

Hometown: Bensenville

Class: Senior

Parents: Dharmishtha B. Patel and Bharat Patel

Sponsor: Teri Wood, director of community relations and community service

Community service: Bison Environmental Activist Team; Senior Mentoring; National Honor Society, collecting donations for UNICEF; Wood Dale Scarewalk volunteer; helping with two Eagle Scout projects

Personal statement: "As I entered high school as a freshman, I told myself that I would join a few clubs and activities in order to become more involved, more social, and a better person overall. One of the first things I joined was the recycling team at my school, or BEAT (Bison Environmental Activist Team). Through helping my school recycle, and by interacting with other groups of my peers, I was able to develop my communication skills, as well as gain leadership qualities that make me the person I am today.

Sponsor's endorsement: "Mohit is a gifted student, volunteer and leader, and I give my highest recommendation."

Nicole Popow, St. Francis High School
Nicole Popow, St. Francis High School
Nicole Popow, St. Francis High School

Hometown: Carol Stream

Class: Senior

Parents: Susan Popow and Michael Popow

Sponsor: Trudy Rigney, director of guidance

Community service: After school tutoring for low-income children; volunteers at a local rehabilitation hospital; coordinates open gym/field days for low-income children; Student Ministry Team; Big Day of Service

Personal statement: "I am very blessed to be able to be a volunteer. I have learned responsibility and leadership by running my own service project. But the most important lesson I learned was how to open my eyes and see people for who they really are, and not just what stereotypes want you to believe."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I have the highest regard for Nicole Popow. Her genuine desire to learn and truly understand her world sets her apart from her peers. When I talk to Nicole, I feel like I am talking to a true adult. She is an old soul. Furthermore, her servant's heart and compassion for others are evident in all that she does. Nicole is dedicated to making a difference in her world."

Alice Cecilia Reid, Benet Academy
Alice Cecilia Reid, Benet Academy
Alice Cecilia Reid, Benet Academy

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: William Reid and Teresa Gorno-Reid

Sponsor: Theresa Wright, counselor

Community service: Teen Advisory Group Team; Naperville Public Library board, student trustee; Naperville library summer reading program, teen volunteer; Naperville library teen programs, program organizer; Naperville library Makerspace program, teen adviser

Personal statement: "These incredible volunteer opportunities have given me the chance to come to a better understanding of how the professional world functions as well as a new appreciation for my extraordinary library. I know that no matter what career I pursue after college, my experiences at the library have set a solid foundation for important life skills such as leading group meetings, organizing events, and working with adults to plan and implement programs."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The ripple effect of her involvements travel far and wide as she pursues her goals with tenacity, enthusiasm, and a desire to make a difference in the world."

Francesca Sikora, Montini Catholic High School
Francesca Sikora, Montini Catholic High School
Francesca Sikora, Montini Catholic High School

Hometown: Woodridge

Class: Senior

Parents: Cheryl and Fran Sikora

Sponsor: Michael Kisicki, assistant principal

Community service: Our Lady of Peace Grade School, coaching a cheerleading team; Montini Catholic High School, helping young girls in the community with their softball skills; Thumbuddy Special Program, creating Christmas baskets; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, event volunteer; Our Lady of Peace Grade School, event volunteer

Personal statement: "My goals for the future involve using my business degree to open up a cheer and dance studio of my own. I believe that what you experience at a young age shapes your life. If I am able to continue to do what I love, cheerleading, while working with who I love, motivated young children, I believe I would live a very great life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a hard worker at all she does; her work ethic, added to her fine mind, high standards, great athletic talent, her clear leadership skills, and her good heart, make Francesca an exceptional young lady."

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