For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ISBE names 16 outstanding students to Student Advisory Council

Selected high school students offer valuable insight to State Board

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 16 outstanding high school students from across Illinois have been selected to represent their peers on the ISBE Student Advisory Council for 2009-10. The new council will meet throughout the year to address education issues, including dropout prevention strategies.

“The young men and women who serve on the Student Advisory Council represent our future leaders,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Their experience and insight provide our Board with an invaluable perspective while the students’ work on the council prepares them for academic and career success beyond high school.’’

The Student Advisory Council was originally formed in 1975 to bring student concerns to the attention of ISBE. The students who comprise the Student Advisory Council are diverse, representing different parts of the state, types of school settings and ethnic backgrounds. But they also share similar qualities including a strong work ethic, the ability to think creatively and work well in groups.

As SAC members, the students also may review and critique ISBE’s existing or proposed programs, policies and regulations, as well as inform Illinois students of SAC activities.

This fall, SAC members’ work promises to guide and inform future initiatives, especially the Illinois Dropout Prevention Summit at Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center on Nov. 4. The Summit is sponsored by State Farm through their partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education.

For the 2009-10 school year, six students are returning to the Student Advisory Council, and 10 new students were selected through a competitive application and review process. Eligibility for SAC is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, attending a public high school in Illinois.

The 10 new members of the Student Advisory Council are:

  • Chinelo Agwuncha, senior, Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy in Forest Park
    Chinelo is on student council, class of 2010 and book club and plays soccer and volleyball. Out of school, she participates in the U.I.C. Saturday Outreach program and volunteers at Rush Presbyterian Hospital during the summer. Chinelo is the 17-year-old daughter of Nnamdi and Chioma Agwuncha of Westchester.

  • Peyton M. Bernot, junior, Gillespie High School in Gillespie
    A member of the student council for seven consecutive years, Peyton is also a member of the Miners Preparing and Caring for Teen Driving Committee to promote safe driving. He has volunteered on several political campaigns, volunteered for the American Red Cross, School District CUSD 7, the Benld United Methodist Church and the Coal County Chamber of Commerce. He works as an intern for Illinois Sen. John J. Cullerton and as a sports reporter for the South Macoupin newspaper. Peyton is the 16-year-old son of Jeff Bernot of Benld.

  • Kojo Fletcher, senior, Glenwood High School in Chatham
    Kojo serves as vice president of his school’s Technology Student Association as well as President of TSA for the State of Illinois. He also participates in Glenwood Cable News Network, and Mock Trial along with sports, including football and track. He wants to be a corporate lawyer and someday hold an elected office in government. Kojo is the 16-year-old son of William and Nora Fletcher of Springfield.

  • Abigail Horan, junior, Rolling Meadows High School in Rolling Meadows
    Abigail is involved in the swim team, musical theatre program, and her school's freshman mentoring program. In addition, she holds leadership roles in her school's speech team; spirit organization, "The Stampede"; TEAM tutoring program; service club, "Mustangs Committed to Service"; and serves as the junior class president. Outside of school, Abigail works closely with several non-profit organizations, including her own charity. One of her projects, the Double T Program, has donated over 3,000 hygiene kits to the homeless and needy both locally and worldwide, since its founding in 2004. Abigail is the 16-year-old daughter of Terry and Jill Horan of Arlington Heights.

  • Daniel Lopez, junior, Mundelein High School in Mundelein
    Daniel has been involved in the mock trial team as well as the soccer and volleyball team. He also belongs to the National Honor Society. When Daniel is not in school, he participates in peer jury which helps misguided teens stay on track with their education and assists them with everyday living. He is a member at his local church and is involved in the National Hispanic Institute. Daniel is the 16-year-old son of Cidifredo and Gloria Lopez of Mundelein.

  • Linda Ly, senior, Urbana University High School in Urbana
    Linda has been her class' vice president since her freshman year, and was recently voted student body vice president. She is an editor of the school's yearbook, involved with a program that helps new students transition to high school and is a member of the track team. She also has interned since her freshman year with WILL AM580, and recently finished co-producing and narrating a documentary about gender equity. Linda is the 17-year-old daughter of Hoa and Trinh Ly of Champaign.

  • Courtney McGill, senior, Belvidere North High School in Belvidere
    Courtney serves as Executive Board President of the Belvidere North Student Council. She is a charter member of Interact, a school service club, editor of the school's literary magazine, member of National Honor Society, and is a BNHS Ambassador. She was recently selected as the recipient of the Mantle Award for outstanding junior student. She is a member of the fall and competitive cheer squads, manages the boy's baseball team, and participates in Accapella chorus. She hopes to pursue a career in the field of special education. Courtney is the 17-year-old daughter of Lisa Volkman of Belvidere.

  • Christopher Parks, senior, Granite City High School in Granite City
    Chris has been involved in several clubs and organizations throughout his high school career, including Speech Team; Drama Club; Robotics Club; National Honor Society; and acting in several school plays. After high school, Chris wishes to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to earn his masters in Civil Engineering. Chris is the 17-year-old son of Daniel and Kimberly Parks of Granite City.

  • Jordan Ping, senior, Newton Community High School in Newton
    Jordan has served on Student Council, Math Club, been a member of FBLA, and the trombone section leader for the Marching Eagles for two years. He is the high school member to the Jasper County Economic Development Cooperative. Outside of school, Jordan works at Hardee's. Upon graduation, Jordan intends to major in criminal justice in college and become a police officer. He was elected to serve as 2009-2010 SAC Secretary. Jordan is the 17-year-old son of Jack and Stacey Ping of Newton.

  • Julie Sauls, junior, Highland High School in New Douglas
    Julie Sauls is currently serving as president of the Highland FFA Chapter, as well as a section leader in her school band. Julie is also a member of the Spanish club. Outside of school, Julie serves as vice president of her 4-H club, and is a member of her church's youth group. She helps individuals in her community by painting, doing lawn work and assisting in food drives. She also plays softball in the summer and works at her local veterinarian clinic. Julie is the 16-year-old daughter of Michael and Carole Sauls of New Douglas.

The following students are returning SAC members:

  • Kelsea Battefeld, junior, Meredosia-Chambersburg High School in Meredosia
    This year, Kelsea was elected as Class President of the junior class. She is currently involved in FHA, Student Council, Dance Team, Yearbook, Upward Bound, and is part of the music program at her school. Kelsea was recently inducted into the National Honors Society. She is also a member in her church youth group. Kelsea is 16 year-old daughter of Brian and Jeannie Battefeld of Meredosia.

  • Sarah Chapman, senior, Indian Creek High School in Shabbona
    Sarah is a member of DeKalb County Partnership for a Safe and Active Family Environment (DCP/SAFE), a community coalition promoting community-based prevention, wellness and healthy lifestyles. She is also the vice president of FCCLA, participates in school softball and a travel club softball organization. She was elected to serve as the 2009-10 SAC co-chair. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Mary Jane Chapman and the late Ted Chapman.

  • Brittany Kendrick, junior, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago
    As a junior at CHSAS, Brittany is on the girls Varsity volleyball team and serves as Vice President of her junior class. Brittany is a member of the National FFA organization and attends an Early Outreach Program at UIC. Brittany plans to graduate in the top 10 percentile of her class and major in environmental law in college. She is the 17-year-old daughter of William and Matilda Kendrick of Chicago.

  • Alexis Maxwell, senior, Addison Trail High School in Addison
    At Addison Trail, Alexis is a class officer, an executive board member of the Student Council, and member of the Principals’ Student Advisory Team. Because of her involvement in the community, she was recently crowned Miss Addison 2009 and nominated for the Daily Herald Leadership Team. As a member of the National Honor Society, she tutors her peers and is a mentor. She is a member of the Kiwanis Key Club, volunteering in various areas to help the community. Alexis is the 17-year-old daughter of Ron and Lesky Maxwell of Addison.

  • Hannah Rhoades, senior, Auburn High School in Auburn
    Hannah has been golf captain for two years and also runs with her school's track and field team. She is president of the Modern Music Masters chapter in her school and is also a member of National Honor Society. Hannah is involved in Spanish, Math, and Science Club. She is also a trombone player in her school's marching and jazz band. Hannah serves on the Illinois Youth Policy Council. Hannah is the 17-year-old daughter of Joseph and Audrey Rhoades of Auburn.

  • Shelby Wills, senior, Williamsfield High School in Williamsfield
    Shelby is a member of the National Honor Society and the secretary for the student council. Shelby is also involved in the Science Club and the Spanish Club. She plays on her school’s volleyball and softball teams, as well as a club volleyball team in Peoria. Shelby is also on the cheerleader squad for the boy’s basketball team. Shelby is a member of the Knox County Youth and Government Program. She also volunteers for charities such as breast cancer awareness and fundraising. During the summer, she plays on a softball team, works as a life guard at the local pool and teaches swim lessons. She is a returning Student Advisory Council Member. Shelby is the 17 year-old daughter of Michael and Marilyn Wills of Dahinda.