NEW District Student Logo Contest Voting Begins!

D219 Community!

The Communications and Partnerships Department is excited to open the voting for our new District logo.  We had over 100 student submissions!  You will vote for your favorite from our top five finalists.  The top five were determined by my department and approved by the D219 Cabinet.
Voting begins today and is open until Monday, 5/9/22 at 4 pm.  Voting is open to our internal D219 community.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday, 5/11/22, at 4 pm, at an event at the District office that will also be live-streamed on the District’s Instagram page.  All of our top five students will receive prizes.
Thank you to our students for their amazing work!
Here is the link for voting.  Please ensure you are using your district email when you vote:



Lori Andre (1976) lives in Chicago and married her high school sweetheart. She has three boys and grandchildren. She runs a successful shoe business, Lori’s Shoes, in Northfield and is the co-chair of community outreach for I AM ALS. 

Lori has worked tirelessly towards efforts to combat ALS, while running her successful shoe business.  All of this work is done with humility, fierce dedication and extraordinary grace.  Lori’s husband Brian (both class of 1976) was diagnosed with ALS approximately 5 years ago. Once they got over the initial shock of this devastating diagnosis, they got to work! They, along with others including Chicago resident, Brian Wallach, launched the organization I Am ALS, and have made more strides getting US government funding for ALS research than ever before.  I Am ALS has made other notable strides in patient advocacy, ALS research, and is revolutionizing how to cure this disease.  A simple google (see links below) of Lori and Brian Andre’s names will surface reporting on much of their efforts.  Below are links to supportive facts indicating how revolutionary their work has been in the Chicagoland area, for the entire ALS community and beyond, in addition to running a successful family owned business for decades.


Aamir Abjani, Misha Gandhi, Michael (Dane) Nitoi, Marija Planinic, Isar Saxena, and Sutton Schwartz, seniors at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois, are 6 of ONLY 39 students in the State of Illinois to be the recipients of the 2022 DECA National Emerging Leader Honor Award.  


This award recognizes students studying marketing, finance, hospitality, entrepreneurship and management for an academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leader through participation in DECA.  The award recipient must be a highly involved and accomplished DECA member in his/her/their senior year of high school who have maintained at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, have completed at least one course in marketing, business management and administration, entrepreneurship, finance or hospitality and tourism, and have participated in a variety of activities that helped them to become a community-oriented, professionally responsible and experienced leader.  


DECA currently boasts over 175,000 worldwide members and less than 1,000 graduating seniors earned this honor.  We are very proud of these students and their accomplishments.  They are truly leaders among their very accomplished peers!  The Niles North DECA chapter advisors are Jean Attig, Kara Mielke and Nick Pahl.  

Pictured Left to Right:  

Sutton Schwartz, Aamir Abjani, Misha Gandhi, Marija Planinic, Isar Saxena, Dane Nitoi

Sutton has committed to Indiana University in the Kelley School of Business in the fall with an intended major in Supply Chain Management.  He is the son of Stacey and Bennet Schwartz of Skokie.

Aamir has committed to University of Illinois–Champaign/Urbana in the fall with an intended major in Marketing.  He is the son of Shamira and Ghulam Abjani of Skokie.

Misha has committed to University of Illinois–Champaign/Urbana in the fall with an intended major in Business and Public Relations.  She is the daughter of Reena and Kalpesh Gandhi of Skokie.

Marija has committed to the Ivy School of Business at Iowa State University in the fall with an undecided major in Business.  She is the daughter of Vidoslava and Luke Planinic of Skokie.

Isar has committed to University of Illinois–Champaign/Urbana in the fall with an intended major in Mechanical Engineering.  He is the son of Shalini and Anup Saxena of Morton Grove.

Dane has committed to the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall with an intended major in Finance.  He is the son of Michele and Daniel Nitoi of Morton Grove.

DECA is a career and technical student organization composed of more than 250,000 students who are interested in careers in marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality or management.  DECA enhances the preparation for college and careers by providing co-curricular programs that integrate into classroom instruction, apply learning, connect to business and promote competition.  DECA student members leverage their DECA experience to become academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders.  For more information about DECA, visit

2022 Niles West Distinguished Alumni Award Winner! – Michelle Mekky (Class of 1989)

Hi D219 community! Please join us in congratulating our 2022 Niles West Distinguished Alumni Award Winner, Michelle Mekky! Read below to get a deeper look into Michelle:

Niles West graduate Michelle Mekky is a veteran broadcast journalist, public relations executive, Chicago-area business leader, Forbes writer and sought-after speaker. After a 20-year career as a TV news producer/writer and PR executive, she founded her own PR agency, Mekky Media Relations, in 2016. She started the company at her dining room table on her own, with little money and only one client. In just five years, she has led Mekky Media to record-breaking growth and revenue, delivering powerful publicity for businesses and nonprofits around the country and internationally. The company’s successful trajectory was especially significant in 2021 – Michelle doubled the client roster and size of her team (now made up of 12 PR pros). Fueled by Michelle’s drive, hard work, creativity, connections and strategic leadership, Mekky Media has become a seven-figure business serving clients that range from startups to industry leaders. Michelle also has established herself as a Forbes writer and speaker who addresses topics like leadership, entrepreneurship, workplace wellness, overcoming challenges and her cancer journey. She is part of the prestigious Forbes Agency Council and International Public Relations Network (IPRN). Michelle is a mentor to many young people, and an innovator in workplace culture and flexible staffing models. Michelle is also an ovarian cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2015 and feels incredibly blessed to have made a full recovery. This has inspired her energetic and grateful approach to life, as well as her desire to give back. She is a spokesperson for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and board member for Triage Cancer, and Mekky Media is a leader in representing nonprofits and elevating their messages and missions. Michelle and her company have been widely recognized. In 2021 alone, awards included Gold/Silver Stevie Awards, Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Award, Expertise PR’s Best PR Firms in Chicago listing, and the Ragan and PR Daily Communicator of the Year Award. Michelle also has been named a PR News Top Women in PR Honoree and Crain’s Chicago Business Notable Entrepreneur. Michelle says she discovered her passion for storytelling at Niles West, when students told her they connected with a school paper story she wrote about the impact of her grandma’s death. She was encouraged by her teachers to continue writing, with Mr. Orr convincing her to join the newspaper. Mr. Sweeney assigned a project of creating a video featuring book characters, which sparked her interest in TV journalism. Michelle won the English Department Award her senior year. She then headed to Northwestern University, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Medill School of Journalism. She worked her way through college and was proud to be the first in her family to obtain a degree.

Michelle still lives in the area (Mount Prospect) and is a proud Niles West graduate, often sharing how her high school experience helped her discover her passions and gave her a strong work ethic. She would be the perfect selection for the Niles West Distinguished Alumnus Award.




North AP art seniors -$1,788,000 in scholarship offers!

North AP art seniors -$1,788,000 in scholarship offers!

Our art students were featured in 3 art shows at the Bridgeport art center and our AP art seniors were awarded a combined total of $1,788,000 in scholarship offers based on their portfolios.
Junior, Nina Malhotra, was awarded an honorable mention in photography AND an early college scholarship offer from SAIC.  We are so proud of their hard work and recognition!  Thank you for all of your support for the visual art department! Congratulations to all the art students involved!

Please congratulate our Niles North Art Students in their combined $1,788,000 in scholarship offers and participation in the Illinois High School Art Exhibition!
The IHSAE Awards Ceremony Event was on Sunday, March 13th, bringing the best student artists from 100 Illinois suburban, public and private high schools to compete and celebrate the power of art in their lives. All at the Bridgeport Art Center.

The Northern Regional Exhibition: a “Best of the Best” show featuring over 500 works of art across 8 distinct categories competing for prestigious awards. Niles North was represented by: Mixed Media: LEXI LEE, Painting: VICKY CORDERO OLIVARES, Photography: NINA MALHOTRA, Design: NOOR AL RUFAYQE, Sculpture: KIRSTEN NG

Congratulations to Nina Malhotra for her honorable mention in the photography category!

The Senior Scholarship Exhibition: An exhibition of over 300 senior artworks that recognized scholarship offers totaling over $119 million dollars.

Rachel Harris, Kala Huynh, Nicole Nantz, Vicky Cordero Olivares, Emily Renner, Lee Buell and Si Micari-Lawless represented North and received $1,788,000 in art scholarship offers!


The Early College Program Exhibition: An exhibition that showcased approximately 100 underclassmen awarded life-changing scholarships to summer college experiences. NINA MALHOTRA represented North and took home a summer scholarship to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

View the virtual 2022 Exhibitions Here.
North students are featured in the Northern, Senior and Early College Exhibitions.