Welcome to the Daily Herald's 2017-18 Academic Team.
Made up of high school graduates from the Northwest suburbs, Lake County, DuPage County and the Fox Valley - these teams represent the best and brightest our schools have produced; dozens of the smartest, most hardworking and visionary young people you'll meet.
The honorees include graduating high school seniors who have achieved perfect or near-perfect ACT and SAT scores, have mastered the most rigorous courses their schools have to offer and are making plans to be further challenged in top-ranked colleges and universities across the country.
Each of them has a unique plan for his or her future - from scientific research to the arts, from business to eradicating disease. Where they all intersect is in having an eagerness for learning and the vision to set goals for themselves and follow through. They also are students who have been deeply involved in their school and community.
To make the Academic Team or be an honorable mention, a student must be nominated by his or her high school. They are measured on seven semesters of grades, test scores, grade-point averages, the awards and honors they have received, extracurriculars and scholarships. Students write personal essays describing why they have pledged themselves to their studies and what they want to do with their lives. A teacher or counselor must write a letter of recommendation for each nominee that talks about their academic prowess as well as their accomplishments outside the classroom.
Meet the 2017-18 Academic Team winners and honorable mentions, and prepare to be amazed.
The Lake County Academic Team, gathered at the Grayslake Public Library. From left: Valerie Pokorny, Antioch Community High School; Rafael Torres, Grant Community High School; Daniel Wieczorek, Lakes Community High School; Grace Kinsey, Lake Zurich High School; Shirley Cao, Adlai E. Stevenson High School; Lyndsey Bassett, Grayslake Central High School; Kathleen Lund, Libertyville High School, and Anmol Parande, Vernon Hills High School. Not pictured: Coral Wang of Carmel Catholic High School and Suraj Rajendran of Libertyville High School.
Gilbert R. Boucher IIemail@example.com
The DuPage County Academic Team, gathered at College of DuPage. From left: Justin Zhao, of Neuqua Valley High School; Alexander Rueth, St. Francis High School; Samantha O'Connell, Glenbard North High School; Benjamin Fefferman, Wheaton North High School; Ella Crowley, Glenbard West High School; Xinru Li, Hinsdale Central High School; Noah Kamm, Willowbrook High School and Yangyang Li of Naperville Central High School. Not pictured: Bayan Rabeh Salamah, of the Islamic Foundation School and Jamie Zhang of Naperville Central High School.
The Fox Valley Academic Team, gathered at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin. Standing, from left: Anjali Bhatt of Huntley High School; Karan Gowda of Elgin Academy; Liam Ryan of Crystal Lake South High School; Jacqueline Oh, St. Charles North High School; Sheehwa Darius Hong, Illinois Math & Science Academy; Keith Mokry of Marmion Academy and Richard C. Demert III of Cary-Grove High School. Sitting are Sharene Gould Dulabaum of Elgin Academy, left, and Vidya Babu of Illinois Math & Science Academy. Not pictured: Natalie Sweeney, Batavia High School.