D219 German Exchange 2019

Students Visit Partner School in Germany; Completing 7th Exchange

D219 German Exchange 2019

This summer, 25 District 219 students traveled to Germany to participate in the 7th international exchange with partner school Schönborn Gymnasium, located outside of Heidelberg. Students enjoyed a 10-day host stay with their exchange partner and family and ended the trip with an extension tour into Salzburg, at the foothills of the Austrian Alps. D219 German students developed close relationships with their German exchange partners when the group visited Niles West and North in October 2018; this summer’s trip to Germany completed the second half of the exchange. Students were accompanied by North German teacher Tom Neal, West German teacher Joe Neumayer, and West French teacher Leslie Natzke.

D219 German Exchange 2019

While in Germany, students visited Schönborn Gymnasium and participated in trips to the Black Forest and France, as well as outings to local towns and destinations. On one sun-filled day, students spent the day at a beach where they water-skied, wake-boarded, and knee-boarded. Students enjoyed beach volleyball and a grill party, where Neumayer grilled bratwurst, pork, and chicken on a traditional “schwenkgrill.”

“I’d say I’m an avid griller, but this was certainly something new to me!” stated Neumayer. “On a schwenkgrill, the meat swings over the flames on a large circular grill grate hanging down from a gigantic tripod. It was wild!”

Another crowd pleaser was the Ritter Sport chocolate factory, where students spent lots of Euros purchasing delicious German chocolate at fabulous prices.

“It was a chocolate shopping frenzy the like of which I have never seen. Not sure how much made it back to parents, though,” commented Natzke.

After the stay with their host families, the group traveled through Dinkelsbühl, voted the most picturesque medieval town in Germany.  Along the way to the Black Forest, a favorite stop included a Sommerrodelbahn (a self-regulated single-seated bobsled which travels down a large slide on the side of a mountain). After visiting the Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein, the group overnighted in Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The final leg of the trip occurred in Munich, with the last meal consumed at the historic Hofbräuhaus, where students feasted on traditional Bavarian cuisine, and enjoyed the oompah music, schuhplattler dancing, and other entertainment.

D219 German Exchange 2019

West participant Zach Werth reported: “It was great to have a German [student] live with my family last October – it was so much fun to show him what we do and how we live. And then, being in Germany, immersed in the German culture and living with a German family, it really allowed me to connect more with the German language. It allowed me to hear native speakers, eat their foods, see what their school is like, go to the grocery store; it was so much different than what I thought. It is such a different culture than what we have in the US – without the influence of American media – it really allowed me to have a meaningful experience. I’d definitely recommend this experience to younger students.”

Niles North Homecoming Poster 2019

North Homecoming: Week of October 14

Niles North High School is ready for a glowing, good time with the theme of “City of Stars” for its 2019 Homecoming festivities. Niles North alumni are invited to attend the events on Friday, October 18, at the high school at 9800 North Lawler Avenue, Skokie. The parade, featuring bright and festive banners from clubs and organizations, begins at 6 p.m., starting in the North parking lot and promenading down Lawler Avenue, before entering and proceeding around the track in the stadium. Alumni are invited to the Alumni Tent, which opens at 5 p.m., and is located in the corner of Chuck Pos Stadium. The Viking football team plays the Maine East Demons with kickoff time at 7 p.m. During the exciting half-time show, the 2019 Homecoming Court will be recognized.

Niles North Homecoming Poster 2019

A listing of 2019 Homecoming Events follows.

Monday, October 14

No School

Tuesday, October 15

Twinkling Twin Spirit Day

5 p.m.             Boys Soccer vs. Senn

7 p.m.             Girls Football Game

Wednesday, October 16

PSAT/NMSQT testing for Sophomores & Juniors

No School for Freshmen & Seniors

6 p.m.             Girls Volleyball vs. Highland Park

6 p.m.             Boys Soccer vs. Chicago Bulls Prep

Thursday, October 17

Bright Lights (Neon) Spirit Day

10 a.m.           Community Performance of Ipi Zombi?

7 p.m.             Ipi Zombi?

Friday, October 18

Blackout Spirit Day

Viking royalty celebrated at a Pep Assembly during the school day

12 p.m.           IHSA Tennis Sectional

4 p.m.             Ipi Zombi?

5 p.m.             Alumni Tent opens

6 p.m.             Parade begins in North parking lot

7 p.m.             Boys Football (V) vs. Maine East

Half-time show featuring Homecoming royalty, band, dance, cheer

Saturday, October 19

Viking Rumble Debate Tournament

7:30 a.m.        IHSA Tennis Sectional

4 p.m.             Ipi Zombi? Fall Play

7 p.m.             Homecoming Dance

Commended Student in National Merit Program

Commended Students in 2020 National Merit Program

Commended Student in National Merit Program


Nineteen students from Niles Township High School District 219 were named as Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from the school and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the school principals to these scholastically talented seniors.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Commended Students from Niles West include:  Alexander Benitez, Sara Collins, Elizabeth De Klerk, Michael Filippini, Madelaine Foler, Hannah Kim, Christian Mancino, Agnes Manish, Omer Naveed, Thomas Nguyen, and Balaji Venkat. Commended Students from Niles North include: Cameron Churchwell, Shannon Dwyer, Jeffrey Garcia, Nimra Khan, Kieran Micari-Lawless, Alexandar Militchinski, Brooke Rickett Green, and Mercedes Sandu.

2018 Wall of Honor Induction of Joel Kessler

2019 Wall of Honor Induction on Oct 4

2018 Wall of Honor Induction of Joel Kessler

Our congratulations to Ron Zagorski and Glenn Olson, the latest coaches to be added to the Niles North Coaches Wall of Honor. Coach Zagorski has been coaching athletes for more than 23 years at Niles North (Varsity Assistant Baseball Coach/Summer Baseball Coach/Varsity Football Statistician). Glenn Olson has served as Head Boys Varsity Basketball Coach since 2009 and under his guidance, the Vikings achieved:  Sectional Champions (2011), Regional Champions (2011-2013, 2018), and Conference Champions (2011, 2013). He is a four-time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) District 4 Coach of the Year and Niles North’s All-Time Winningest Basketball Coach (244-116).

All alumni, students and community members are invited to celebrate the induction of Coach Zagorski and Coach Olson to the Wall of Honor that will take place on Friday, October 4 at the Niles North vs. Maine West home football game.  At 6:40 p.m., Ron Zagorski and Glenn Olson and members of their families, Wall of Honor Committee members, and Former Recipients of the Wall of Honor will meet Niles North Athletic Director Brett Bildstein on the 50-yard line. The Induction will take place at 6:55 p.m. on the Main Field, Niles North High School, 9800 Lawler, Skokie.

Coaches Wall of Honor Inductee Ron Zagorski

“Ron Zagorski has been an integral part of Niles North baseball for over 20 years. This ranges from getting the water/snow off the fields, to daily field maintenance, to actually assisting some city teams with transportation to play at Niles North. He has impacted numerous Viking programs from feeder through high school. He is a member of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He is also a role model for other coaches as he has helped coaches keep a proper perspective on what is important, personal development, not wins and losses.”

–       Coach Ed Toledo

Ron Zagorski

Nominated by:  Ed Toledo

  • Varsity Assistant Baseball Coach (1997-present)
  • Summer Baseball Coach (1995-present)
  • Varsity Football Statistician (1996-present)


  • Member of IHSBCA Hall of Fame
  • Baseball Coach at Schurz High School when they won multiple city championships as well as the IHSA Championship
  • Started Donna Zagorski Memorial Scholarship which is given annually to a deserving baseball player

Coaches Wall of Honor Inductee: Glenn Olson

“Glenn’s success is due largely to the fact that he is here every day and often into the night working with students. His dedication to working with our students is exceptional and not without personal sacrifice. Glenn is a positive role model for our students here at Niles North. Before Glenn, a 20-win season was an anomaly, now it is expected.” –  Coach Paul Swanson.

Glenn Olson

Nominated by:  Paul Swanson

  • Head Boys Varsity Basketball Coach (2009-present)


  • Boys Sectional Champions (2011)
  • Boys Regional Champions (2011, 2012, 2013, 2018)
  • Boys Conference Champions (2011, 2013)
  • All-Time Winningest Basketball at Niles North 207-96 (244-116)
  • Won 20 or more games eight of the last nine years
  • Coached over 25 players who have continued their career at the collegiate level.
National Merit Logo with Semifinalists Text

Four National Merit Semifinalists Announced

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently announced the names of 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Niles Township High School District 219 has four Semifinalists. They are: Owen Stephenson from Niles North and Daniel Cudzich, Irena Petryk and Henry Rousseau from Niles West. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

The next step in the process is narrowing down the pool of semifinalists to finalists. About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the next level after submitting an application with information about academic and community activities, employment, awards and “demonstrated leadership abilities,” according to National Merit. Winners will be selected out of those finalists based on their accomplishments, skills and potential for success in college. This year’s National Merit Scholars will be announced between April and July 2020.

Niles West, North – Among Best Public Schools in Chicago Magazine

Graphic - Best Public Schools 2019

Niles West and Niles North High Schools have both been named among the 20 Best Public High Schools in suburban Cook County by Chicago Magazine. Niles West was ranked at #12 and Niles North at #15 in the September 2019 edition of the magazine. The magazine’s survey of the best public schools analyzes data from the Illinois State Board of Education for the 217-18 school year. Calculations were done by the research nonprofit RTI International, based on weighting instructions provided by Chicago.

Niles North Principal, Dr. James Edwards, “I am so grateful to work with such a dedicated staff, vibrant student population, supportive parents and guardians, and committed district leaders in D219.  I am also excited about continuing to strive for continuous improvement in academics and school climate and culture at Niles North as the new school year begins.”

Suburban High Schools rankings were based on the following categories:  Spending per pupil: 15%; SAT reading attainment percentage: 12.5%; SAT math attainment percentage: 12.5%; SAT reading attainment percentage, income-adjusted: 12.5%; SAT math attainment percentage, income-adjusted: 12.5%; Attendance: 15%; and Graduation rate: 20%.