2015-2016 Northwest Suburban Leadership Team

  • Members of the Northwest Suburban Leadership Team gather at Harper College. At left, bottom to top are Ashley Prabakar, Hoffman Estates High School; Millen Srivastava, Barrington High School; Kristina Dominguez, Buffalo Grove High School and Aneri B. Patel, Maine East High School. At right, bottom to top; Natalie Brady, Rolling Meadows High School; Nicole Ricken, William Fremd High School; Christopher Nevarez, Barrington High School (in the middle); Karly Rose Grapenthin, Palatine High School; Justin Cruz, St. Viator High School and Julia Niklewicz, John Hersey High School.

      Members of the Northwest Suburban Leadership Team gather at Harper College. At left, bottom to top are Ashley Prabakar, Hoffman Estates High School; Millen Srivastava, Barrington High School; Kristina Dominguez, Buffalo Grove High School and Aneri B. Patel, Maine East High School. At right, bottom to top; Natalie Brady, Rolling Meadows High School; Nicole Ricken, William Fremd High School; Christopher Nevarez, Barrington High School (in the middle); Karly Rose Grapenthin, Palatine High School; Justin Cruz, St. Viator High School and Julia Niklewicz, John Hersey High School. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
Posted1/14/2016 5:14 AM

Natalie Brady, Rolling Meadows High School
Natalie Brady, Rolling Meadows High School
Natalie Brady, Rolling Meadows High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Kathy Brady

Sponsor: Eileen Herbster, teacher

Community service: Organized a St. Baldrick's fundraiser that raised more than $10,000 for cancer research; president of Rotary Interact Club; camp counselor; leader for Peer Ministry program at her church

Personal statement: "I believe it is my duty to make my life an example of service in daily living to those who look up to me -- my teammates on cross-country, younger actors in the musical, or my small group members in Peer Ministry. One day I will serve those in need across the globe, but for now service is best fulfilled by being directly there for those around me, and being an optimistic, motivated leader."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In her last cross-country meet as a senior, within moments after it started, Natalie broke her foot. She ran 2.5 miles on a broken foot and finished with a personal record time and placed very well ... allowing her team to advance to sectionals and revealing Natalie's dedicated, hardworking, persevering spirit."

Justin Cruz, St. Viator High School
Justin Cruz, St. Viator High School
Justin Cruz, St. Viator High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: David and Lynda Cruz

Sponsor: Stephanie Collins, counselor

Community service: Volunteered at Peace Corner Youth Center in Austin to help teenagers avoid gangs and drugs, then developed a fundraising website to help struggling residents; camp counselor; volunteered at Keystone Foundation events for disabled people

Personal statement: "The coolest thing about volunteering is the exposure: It forces you to go outside your comfort zone, to embrace someone or something you'd rather not, and learn something from them. I admit there are times I take three looks at the clock to make sure it's not an hour behind, but there are just as many moments when my breath is taken away, for example, when I worked with teenage gang members last summer."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Since his freshman year, Justin has accumulated over 500 hours of service. His work (with disabled) was recognized with the Glenkirk Youth Citizen Award. He exudes energy and positivity; he is one of the most motivated, giving, and enthusiastic students I have ever encountered."

Kristina Dominguez, Buffalo Grove High School
Kristina Dominguez, Buffalo Grove High School
Kristina Dominguez, Buffalo Grove High School

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Class: Senior

Parents: Dawn and Jose Dominguez

Sponsor: Rich Schram, teacher and student council sponsor

Community service: Leads and organizes community service projects and in-school events; on the leadership team for Relay For Life; helped organize raffle for Leukemia Research Foundation

Personal statement: "Being a leader is not always easy. It requires a lot of work and dedication. I've learned that some days things don't get done unless I finish the task. It's part of being a leader. When you are passionate about what you do, it's always worth it in the end. No matter how far I have to go out of my way, or how long it will take me, volunteering has always fulfilled me."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Do not underestimate Kristina. I have been working with her since she arrived at our school and joined the student council. During that time I have observed one of the most dedicated and persistent students I have had the pleasure to work with, and I have also seen her develop into a strong, passionate leader."

Karly Grapenthin, Palatine High School
Karly Grapenthin, Palatine High School
Karly Rose Grapenthin, Palatine High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Jenny and Kurt Grapenthin

Sponsor: Eric Millstone, English teacher

Community service: Best Buddies board member, participant and president; peer counselor for Palatine High School; peer tutor in chemistry and trigonometry; College Night guide

Personal statement: "Volunteering has strongly affected my goals and aspirations. I want to continue volunteering for the rest of my life because it makes me a stronger individual, and it makes someone else's life easier. What amazes me is how much volunteering has changed my life. Prior to my volunteering experiences, I wanted to own a ski resort, but now I want to be a teacher."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Intelligent, responsible, compassionate. I love having Karly in class as she makes those around her better, whether it be students or teachers. The true mark of someone's worth is how much they can help others. Her feedback is constructive and accurate, but she has the innate ability to deliver it in a nurturing, nonthreatening manner, which is oftentimes difficult for teenagers."

Christopher Nevarez, Barrington High School
Christopher Nevarez, Barrington High School
Christopher Nevarez, Barrington High School

Hometown: Carpentersville

Class: Senior

Parents: Melchor and Maria Nevarez

Sponsors: Jill Bauer, student volunteer coordinator; Monica Barreiro, counselor

Community service: Volunteers at Sunny Hill School with both academics and events; volunteers in the Oncology Department at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital; helps supervise 300 student and community volunteers for the Barrington Giving Day Youth Board

Personal statement: "Volunteering ... is about taking initiative. Simply showing up is not enough. One must add to the experience of those being helped and also make sure to be ready to step up and be a leader when everyone else takes a step back."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Asked to speak during our in-service day, Chris spoke eloquently, confidently, and with an ease that engaged more than 2,500 district faculty and staff. Afterwards I saw him shaking hands and conversing with teachers. The impact he had on the audience was incredible. He was an inspiration and reminded many in the audience about their love of teaching."

Julia Niklewicz, John Hersey High School
Julia Niklewicz, John Hersey High School
Julia Niklewicz, John Hersey High School

Hometown: Mount Prospect

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Paula Niklewicz

Sponsor: Mary Jahrling, counselor

Community service: Helps organize the Hersey food and blood drives; coordinates Super Buddies events, which integrates special ed and mainstream students; special needs camp counselor; volunteers at the Lutheran Home

Personal statement: "I am starting a new club called Lunch Club. We will meet every Tuesday to eat, play games and make new friends. A lot of the kids involved are on the autism spectrum. My goal is that other kids will find their passion working with those with special needs like I did."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Since her freshman year Julia has been involved in Super Buddies. Each year she has taken on more responsibility and as a senior has been instrumental in organizing every event the club sponsors. Julia frequently is the "buddy" to a student with more significant needs. Her ability to connect, relate and engage the student in the activity is nothing short of amazing."

Aneri Patel, Maine East High School
Aneri Patel, Maine East High School
Aneri B. Patel, Maine East High School

Hometown: Glenview

Class: Senior

Parents: Heta & Bhupendra Patel

Sponsor: Principal Mike Pressler

Community service: As president of Rotary Interact the group bought $10,000 worth of toys for the WGN Toy Drive and raised $3,500 for End Polio Now; Aneri founded a 5K walkathon that raised $3,500 for MDA; organized student-led seminars for retirees; began an initiative to buy goats for Kenyan families; founded campaign to push students toward higher ed

Personal statement: "Colorwalk 5K raised $3,500, enough to send four children, all expenses paid, to the MDA summer camp. The children at the Muscular Dystrophy Association have shown me that fulfillment can come from just four tiny smiles."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Clearly, Aneri stands out for her strong personal and work qualities. She is well-regarded by peers and adults alike for her intelligence, work ethic, common sense, positive attitude and diligence. She epitomizes the Rotary mantra of 'Service Above Self' while simultaneously achieving excellence in the classroom."

Ashley Prabakar, Hoffman Estates High School
Ashley Prabakar, Hoffman Estates High School
Ashley Prabakar, Hoffman Estates High School

Hometown: Hoffman Estates

Class: Senior

Parents: Charles and Cinthia Prabakar

Sponsor: Suzanne Fetherling, AP Biology teacher

Community service: Mentor for at-risk elementary schoolchildren; volunteer assistant in the Oncology Unit at Alexian Brothers Medical Center; transport volunteer at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital; performed in a Christian girl band to raise money for clean drinking water for Haitian families; Bible school teacher

Personal statement: "'Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.' This quote from 'Inherit the Wind' is one of my favorites -- a warning from Pastor Brown to his daughter that the world is far from perfect. Volunteering as an oncology unit assistant has taken my fairy tale dream of becoming a doctor into the reality I am working toward."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Ashley's core values are based in faith. It has taught her that life is meaningful through accomplishment, and having a commitment to the well-being of others by putting them first."

Nicole Ricken, William Fremd High School
Nicole Ricken, William Fremd High School
Nicole Ricken, William Fremd High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Barbara and Robert Ricken

Sponsor: Andrea Fritz, teacher

Community service: Key advocate for Washington, D.C.-based childhood cancer organization called The Truth 365, including work on Emmy Award-winning documentary; volunteer at Curefest for Childhood Cancer; hosted musical night for families at Ronald McDonald house; organized event for Fremd LYFE, dedicated to special-needs students

Personal statement: "My involvement in the childhood cancer community has awoken me to the harsh realities of our world and to the suffering that we are all so desensitized to. It has also awoken me, however, to the limitless and far-reaching powers of music, community and compassion."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I was very proud to accompany her to the Illinois Holocaust Museum where she performed ... Her lyrics revealed her poetic and compassionate soul, as she painted the journey of Holocaust survivors to the United States as one through the ocean, bridged by an old life and new beginning."

Millen Srivastava, Barrington High School
Millen Srivastava, Barrington High School
Millen Srivastava, Barrington High School

Hometown: South Barrington

Class: Senior

Parents: Pushkar and Vinita Srivastava

Sponsor: Jill Bauer, Student Volunteer Program coordinator

Community service: Ambassador for Project Why Volunteer, promoting health/education in the Third World; raised $120,000 toward a computer center and a little girl's surgeries in India; as Key Club president fundraised for multiple causes; as student council officer organized blood drives, fundraisers, anti-bullying campaign; fundraised for Sudden Cardiac Death; founder of "Taking the Initiative" Support Our Troops Club

Personal statement: "My dream: To change the world through science, leadership and social awareness. My focus: Education, medicine and community service. My hope: To have lived knowing I made a difference in people's lives."

Sponsor's endorsement: She might call it a dream, but I call it a plan. Her commitment to volunteerism, academics and causes she believes in runs deep. She has consistently involved herself in activities to further those interests."

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