The D219 Board of Education honored several students and staff members at its November 5 meeting with its Those Who Make A Difference award:
Boruch Arnold, Niles Central and Niles West
“Boruch Arnold is a 15-year-old sophomore who attends both Niles Central and Niles West,” said Niles Central Director Joe Bruzzino, who introduced him. “Boruch is being recognized for his technological Interests. Boruch is interested in pursuing a degree in Computer Science or Robotics. In the 2018-19 school year, he completed Industrial Concepts 1 and 2. This past summer, Boruch enrolled in Robotics, where he earned a 97% in the class.
“Boruch has chosen the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, and Trades Career Pathway,” Bruzzino said. “He has shown a strong interest in this area and has met great success academically. This school year, he is currently enrolled in AP Computer Science (Project Lead the Way), Introduction to Engineering Design (Project Lead the Way), Autos Topics and Advanced Geometry. Mid first quarter, Boruch’s Geometry teacher at Niles West recommended that Boruch move up to an advanced class due to his need for a challenge, his inquisitive mind, and his analytical and methodical approach to problem-solving. He is also known as a very intelligent, analytical and independent thinker.
“Boruch is always very interesting to have a conversation with,” said Bruzzino. “Boruch has a very broad fount of knowledge for a person of his age. He enjoys engaging in lively debate informed by current events. With these skills, Boruch has the ability to get along with a wide range of peers and adults. By the end of his first year, Boruch worked his way to the top of our level system. He currently has four Niles West courses and is on track for further coursework at Niles West. This has been an unusually fast and positive trajectory, which also speaks to Boruch’s high motivation and work ethic. Boruch has over a 3.7 GPA, an accomplishment for which both he and his parents can be proud.
Amani Laliwala and Leslie Natzke, Niles West
“This week is National French Week, and I thought it would be appropriate to recognize French Club President, Amani Laliwala, and French Club Sponsor, Leslie Natzke,” Niles West Principal Karen Ritter said while she was introducing the honorees.
“Amani Laliwala is a French student, the President of French Club and a member of the French Honor Society. Amani (who is a senior) loves studying the French language, but more so, the French culture. This year, with Amani at the helm, the French Club is planning an event that brings Niles North and Niles West and some feeder school students together for a “Dîner en Blanc” this Friday, November 8. If you are not familiar with the Dîner en Blanc concept, it is an event where people dress in white, bring a dish, and share a wonderful meal together. These dîner en blanc happen around the world. If you are looking for something to do this Friday, perhaps you can join them!
“Besides Amani’s love for French, she spends a good amount of her free time helping others. Amani is involved in the West Helps Others (WHO) Club, where she has participated in service learning projects such as Feed My Starving Children and Wolfpack Gives Back, and she also manages the logistics and communication of the WHO Club, notifying other students of service learning opportunities that benefit our community.
“Amani serves in other ways, such as raising money for cancer research in the Relay for Life race, helping parents at Open House and Parent-Teacher Conferences, and she does all of this while following a rigorous schedule including 4 AP classes. She hopes to major in computer science or chemistry, with a minor in French, bien sûr.
“Her French teacher, Ms. Natzke, says Amani is a natural leader — that she is detail oriented, responsible, knows how to take a step back from a situation to see the big picture, and has developed the art of delegation. Ms. Natzke also appreciates the opportunities that Niles West provides for emerging leaders like Amani. She says Niles West helps students develop and find their unique path.
“Next,” Ritter said, “I would like to introduce Madame Leslie Natzke, French teacher and French Club sponsor. Madame Natzke has spent some time as a Peace Corps volunteer in French-speaking African countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, and Senegal. It would not be a surprise if Amani got her passion for helping others from her French teacher. Besides her Peace Corps experience, Madame Natzke is involved in a not-for-profit organization called Expanding Lives, which helps young West African women develop leadership and technology skills.
“Ms. Natzke says that her French Club students love French culture and enjoy celebrating National French Week with cultural outings, playing games, and watching French films. Both Amani and Ms. Natzke participated in an exchange program last year in Le Mans to reinforce their love of the French culture and language.
“Thank you, Amani Laliwala and Leslie Natzke, for making a difference in the lives of many through your involvement with the French Club and your spirit of service to others.”
Maya Bral and Summer Lee, Niles North
“Why Not Dance, more commonly known as YND, is an extracurricular dance club at Niles North,” said Niles North Principal James Edwards. “Years ago, the club started as a space for breakdancers to work together to learn different breakdancing moves. Since then, the club grew exponentially, starting with five students, and growing to over 70 dancers today. Students teach and learn all different styles of dance with and from each other, and perform at a number of different school and community events. Some of the dancers have years of experience dancing in front of hundreds, others have only danced in front of their mirrors.
“With over 70 dancers currently on our roster, we would not be able to accomplish the level of performance without the leadership of Maya and Summer,” Edwards said. (Both are seniors.)
“Together, they do their best to ensure that every single dancer’s talents don’t go unnoticed,” said club sponsor and Math teacher Gary Chu. “Summer and Maya have established an all-inclusive space for students of all backgrounds and abilities to feel welcome. They make a huge point to emphasize and amplify everybody’s voice in the club. Maya and Summer are extremely well-respected by their peers, and we could not be more proud or grateful to them for all they’ve been able to do for our dance community.
“Maya and Summer are self-advocates, leaning on each other and the support of their vice presidents to problem solve, choreograph, and plan for all of our practices and performances,” Chu said. “They are flexible, and have the ability to adapt to what the studio needs at any given moment. Summer and Maya always make themselves available to help others who need to catch up on choreography.”