Northwest Suburban Leadership Team, 2017-2018

 
Posted1/18/2018 5:20 AM
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  • The Daily Herald Northwest suburban Leadership Team meets at the Schneider Electric Amphitheater on the campus of William Rainey Harper College in Palatine. From left: Mansi Bodalia of Maine East High School; Ashley Szull, Elk Grove High School; Annie Walsh, Prospect High School; Sophia Mavromatis, Fremd High School; Devon Sheehan, St. Viator High School; Jelena Pejovic, Maine West High School; Ishaan Sehgal, Barrington High School; Krislyn Cardoza, Schaumburg High School; Scott Mahon, Buffalo Grove High School and Abhinav Balu, Fremd High School.

      The Daily Herald Northwest suburban Leadership Team meets at the Schneider Electric Amphitheater on the campus of William Rainey Harper College in Palatine. From left: Mansi Bodalia of Maine East High School; Ashley Szull, Elk Grove High School; Annie Walsh, Prospect High School; Sophia Mavromatis, Fremd High School; Devon Sheehan, St. Viator High School; Jelena Pejovic, Maine West High School; Ishaan Sehgal, Barrington High School; Krislyn Cardoza, Schaumburg High School; Scott Mahon, Buffalo Grove High School and Abhinav Balu, Fremd High School. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Abhinav Balu, Fremd High School
Abhinav Balu, Fremd High School
Abhinav Balu, Fremd High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Govinda and Ratnamala Balu

Sponsor: Christina O'Donnell, teacher

Community service: Co-founder of Subadra Foundation, helping widows, the elderly and impoverished; Teen Advisory Board at Palatine Public Library; basketball coach at Palatine Park District

Personal statement: "I have everything, but at the same time, I know what it's like to have nothing. Through visits to rural India or through my life in the modernized suburbs, I've been a part of both worlds. I've experienced the pain of living without anything to hope for, and it is for those very people without anything to hold onto that I started the Subadra Foundation."

Sponsor's endorsement: "'That kid has charisma,' my colleague later stated after a brief meeting with this student. I could have started with how bright this student is, or how hardworking, or how kind, or how optimistic, or how much of a leader he is. (The list goes on.) But I wanted to start with his ability to be all of these things and connect with other people so easily. He is a leader that cares about other people's welfare, so his leadership does nothing but benefit others."

Mansi Bodalia, Maine East High School
Mansi Bodalia, Maine East High School
Mansi Bodalia, Maine East High School

Hometown: Niles

Class: Senior

Parents: Ketan and Manisha Bodalia

Sponsor: Michael Pressler, principal

Community service: Rotary Interact toy drive, dodgeball tournament, digital literacy; Play it Forward charity tennis tournament

Personal statement: "My passion for volunteering began when I was 10 years old when my mother passed away due to ovarian cancer. Today I do not look at her death as a reason to be sad, but rather a form of happiness to appreciate the little things I have in my life. I soon began volunteering my time in the summer at a local Rainbow Hospice to bring the same happiness in the eyes of patients."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Mansi was the organizing force behind last year's WGN Toy Drive in which our Interactors raised and purchased over $11,500 of toys for underprivileged children in the Chicago area. Mansi provided leadership in planning and organizing fundraising efforts, coordinating 280 members in the selection and purchase of toys, as well as the transport of toys by members for storage and then to WGN."

Krislyn Cardoza, Schaumburg High School
Krislyn Cardoza, Schaumburg High School
Krislyn Cardoza, Schaumburg High School

Hometown: Schaumburg

Class: Senior

Parents: Norman and Elizabeth Cardoza

Sponsor: Mary Lopez, social studies teacher

Community service: St. Marcelline's parish, religious education catechist and Appalachian service project; Gigi's Playhouse volunteer; National Honor Society co-president; math tutor

Personal statement: "Thrown into the most impoverished, destitute regions of the country during my mission trip to Kentucky, I realized that happiness is a state of mind and a mental choice. Despite lacking basic necessities for survival, the poorest of people had the richest of hearts and most optimistic of thoughts. As a leader, I transferred this growth mindset to my volunteer work and engaged in whatever activities I could to radiate positivity."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Margaret Mead famously said, 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' Indeed, this student has changed life for the better at our school due to her astounding breadth of involvement through all aspects of student life."

Scott Mahon, Buffalo Grove High School
Scott Mahon, Buffalo Grove High School
Scott Mahon, Buffalo Grove High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Class: Senior

Parents: David and Megan Mahon

Sponsor: Francesca Murphy

Community service: Adopt-a-Family program; co-founder of "The Harbor," a school unity and anti-bullying program; class president all four years

Personal statement: "I've learned how gratifying it is to use my ideas, energy, and abilities to make someone else's life a little better, a little easier, or a little happier. In school, one of my strengths is math and, in general, problem solving -- and because of my volunteer experiences, I know I want to use those skills to improve people's lives. I'm especially interested in biomedical engineering because it combines the logical aspects of my brain with my passion for helping people."

Sponsor's endorsement: "One cannot simply write enough to describe the level of significance Scott has on Buffalo Grove High School and the surrounding community. When I think of how different a school can be without certain student influences, I immediately think of Scott. He will always be the first to volunteer his leadership skills or offer a helping hand in any program he joins."

Sophia Mavromatis, Fremd High School
Sophia Mavromatis, Fremd High School
Sophia Mavromatis, Fremd High School

Hometown: Inverness

Class: Senior

Parents: Jesse and Melissa Mavromatis

Sponsor: Heather Schroeder, social studies department chair

Community service: Advisory Mentoring Program, Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home, AP Psychology leadership intern, Greek Club

Personal statement: "When my high school dance coach asked me to coach the feeder team for sixth- through eighth-graders, I immediately said yes. To be able to teach younger girls dance skills and prepare them for my high school dance team is an awesome opportunity. I look forward to seeing them every week because they are always willing to try anything and want to learn. Their low stress and ability to just dance without a care has caused me to appreciate the little things in life and remember to do everything with a smile."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Due to her outstanding maturity, compassion, and confidence, this student nominee stood out from the rest in my AP Psychology classes last year. The first words that come to mind when thinking about her are driven, interpersonal, and aware."

Jelena Pejovic, Maine West High School
Jelena Pejovic, Maine West High School
Jelena Pejovic, Maine West High School

Hometown: Des Plaines

Class: Senior

Parents: Elzbieta Pineda

Sponsor: Audrey Haugan, principal

Community service: Des Plaines Public Library and Coach Tutoring organization, Refugee One and Voice for the Nameless, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "Through NHS, I worked with a team to create a service project to help senior citizens … become more technologically savvy. Funny thing was, what did they LOVE? Emojis! They didn't want to know about Facebook, but wanted me to help them install emojis! While I did that, I benefitted from many great stories from their rich lives and many words of wisdom."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Jelena is a member of my Principal's Leadership Team and has been since her sophomore year. Nominated by ALL of her freshman teachers to be a part of this group, they saw in her the potential for a young student to emerge as a leader at our school. They were right, and we have in Jelena a senior who has outstanding leadership ability, but also a compassion and empathy for others that is not usually seen in someone so young."

Ishaan Sehgal, Barrington High School
Ishaan Sehgal, Barrington High School
Ishaan Sehgal, Barrington High School

Hometown: Hoffman Estates

Class: Senior

Parents: Sonia and Swadheen Sehgal

Sponsor: Lisa Horcher, student volunteer coordinator

Community service: Web design for Cutting Edge Foundation, School Ambassador at Station Middle School, peer tutor in math

Personal statement: "Having grown up around my mother's office, I gained early exposure to the intersection of technology and medicine. My mother was, and still is, a computer scientist who takes a SPECT-CT machine's output and converts it to images that highlight tumors. What I admired most was that she was using her talent to directly improve people's lives. This is now a vision I share."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Ishaan has volunteered for an organization called Cutting Edge Foundation. The mission of Cutting Edge is to advance health care through robotic surgery ... Ishaan's counselor describes him as 'one of my most intelligent and accomplished students.' Teachers depend on Ishaan as a leader in the classroom. He is the 'go to' student during class discussions and provides valuable insights that can ignite classroom debates."

Devon Sheehan, St. Viator High School
Devon Sheehan, St. Viator High School
Devon Sheehan, St. Viator High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Sean and Banu Sheehan

Sponsor: Stephanie Spiewak

Community service: Camp Sunshine, counselor for kids with life-threatening illnesses; Children of Abraham coalition, interfaith and social justice; Relay For Life

Personal statement: "I want to go to college to become a lawyer, and doing service helps me to see people who are different from I am and see how I can protect them. Working at Camp Sunshine, I see many happy children who may not get to go on vacation because of their illness, or their family cannot afford it to go on vacation because of medical bills. Doing service enriches my life and those who I serve, and it is something I could not live without."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I have no doubt that Devon will achieve any goal she sets for herself -- Devon's intellectual curiosity, drive and determination are all qualities that will enable her to be a most successful individual. Devon is the type of student you want on your campus next fall. She is eager to learn, engaged in her community and motivated to accomplish any challenge that comes her way."

Ashley Szull, Elk Grove High School
Ashley Szull, Elk Grove High School
Ashley Elizabeth Szull, Elk Grove High School

Hometown: Elk Grove Village

Class: Senior

Parents: Raymond Szull

Sponsor: Scott Deutsch, counselor

Community service: Leo Club president, Tri-M Music Association, Distracted Driving Awareness Initiative

Personal statement: "My active involvement and leadership experience through the Leo Club has been both rewarding and life-changing. … A recognized group by Lions Clubs International and under the umbrella of the local Lions Club, the Leo Club is part of the world's oldest and largest service organization that gives students the opportunity to learn about duty, integrity, responsibility, and pride."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Her commitment frequently reflects a maturity and wisdom that is rarely found among high school students. This National Honor Society student has done a terrific job of balancing her time. She is a competitive force on three of our athletic teams, she has proven to be a leader through a variety of activities such as Principal Advisory, Athletic Leadership Council, and Concert Master."

Anne Walsh, Prospect High School
Anne Walsh, Prospect High School -
Anne Walsh, Prospect High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Class: Senior

Parents: Brian and Geralyn Walsh

Sponsor: Nicholas Olson

Community service: Allergy Awareness Club, Food Allergy Research and Education teen adviser, St. James Youth Mission Trip and Youth Ministry

Personal statement: "Living with 16 life-threatening food allergies, including common foods like wheat, rye, barley, eggs, beef, shellfish, beans, sesame, and nuts, has allowed me to feel what it's like to be excluded; food is part of so many celebrations and events in our culture. Food allergies have developed my empathy for others who are excluded or marginalized. Founding and leading the Allergy Awareness Club at my high school has been a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding experience."

Sponsor's endorsement: "What makes Anne's service to the school and community unique is how she turned her life-threatening illness into a way to help other people. Furthermore, she created this opportunity to serve others vs. finding an organization. Anne founded and grew our Allergy Awareness Club to over 40 members. … I have seen an impact on student and staff knowledge of allergies due to Anne's efforts."

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