For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 20, 2007

ISBE names 15 outstanding scholars 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 15 outstanding sophomores, juniors and seniors from across Illinois have been selected to represent their peers on the ISBE Student Advisory Council for 2007-2008. The new council came together and began in their new roles during this week’s September State Board meeting.

“Since the State Board of Education has made preparing our students for success beyond graduation from high school a high priority, the perspectives and ideas that our newest members of the Student Advisory Council have to offer will prove to be invaluable to the board,” said Jesse H. Ruiz, Board Chairman. “We are also excited and look forward to having the opportunity to continue to work with returning members.”

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 very diverse, as they come from different geographic locations, ethnic backgrounds, and types of schools. However, they possess similar qualities, which include a strong work ethic, ability to think “outside-the-box,” the willingness to set aside time from their busy schedules for SAC work and the skill of working 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.

For the 2007-08 school year, four students are returning to the Student Advisory Council, and eleven 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 11 new members of the Student Advisory Council are:

  • Sarah Chapman, sophomore, Indian Creek High School in Shabbona
    Sarah is active in school, local community and extracurricular activities. At Indian Creek, she is a member of the DeKalb Community Partnership for a Safe and Active Family Environment (DCP/SAFE), a community coalition promoting community based prevention, wellness and healthy lifestyles for the community as a whole. She is also a member of the Spanish Club, the softball and basketball teams, in addition to the travel club softball organization. Sarah, 15, is the daughter of Mary Jane Chapman and the late Ted Chapman of Shabbona.

  • Skye David, junior, Lawrenceville High School in Lawrenceville
    During high school, Skye has participated in a wide variety of activities. She is involved in the Student Council, National Honor Society, Beta Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This year, she will serve as class president and captain of the cross country team, as well as playing softball. Outside of school, Skye works at the local ice cream shop and mentors a 10-year-old girl. Skye is the 16-year-old daughter of Philip and Cindy David of Lawrenceville.

  • Dirk DeDecker, senior, Richwoods High School in Peoria
    In high school, Dirk, 17, has been involved in student council, key club and the French Club for three years, in addition to numerous other extracurricular activities. He also runs cross country and track and has been named Academic All-Conference in cross country. For his Eagle Scout project, Dirk organized and led a group of boys to refinish the flooring in a lodge at a state park. This summer, he attended Premier Boys State Leadership camp at Eastern Illinois University. After high school, Dirk plans to major in engineering with a minor in physics. He is the son of Darren and Sue DeDecker of Peoria.

  • Michele Dumoulin, senior, Triad High School in Troy
    Seventeen-year-old Michele has always been an active member of her high school and community. She is involved in numerous extracurricular activities such as ALPHA, SADD, Spanish Club, Tri-M, Model United Nations, math team and soccer. Michele also sings with Madjazz and has participated in several professional productions at the St. Louis, Mo. Theater. This year, Michele will serve as the senior class president. She is the daughter of David and Barbara Dumoulin of Marine.

  • Sarah Freebairn, senior, Shiloh High School in Hume
    Sarah has been involved in Student Council, SADD, Cama Teens, FCA, FFA, Yearbook, Ecology Club, Drama Club and band. She is currently the Student Council president and is the former Kickapoo district vice-president. Sarah is also a member of the softball team and is a cheerleader for basketball and football games. After graduation, Sarah plans to major in pre-medicine with the goal of becoming a neonatologist and working in a children’s hospital. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Paul and Krista Freebairn of Newman.

  • Kendall Hoover, junior, Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale
    Currently, Kendall is a Peer Leader and a Student Ambassador at Hinsdale Central. She is also active in Habitat for Humanity and has built homes in South Dakota and the Appalachian Mountains with her Church youth group. She also volunteers about 10 hours each month at her local hospital. This summer, Kendall attended Duke University’s three-week marine biology lab experience in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She has also attended a summer institute at Boston University and a Leadership Camp in San Francisco. After graduation, Kendall plans to study science or mathematics in college. She is the 16-year-old daughter of James and Lee Stanley of Hinsdale.

  • Shaleka Johnson, senior, Meridian High School in Mounds
    While a student at Meridian High School, Shaleka has been very active both in academic and student activities. She has served as Student Council president and participates in band and the Junior Class Club. Shaleka also mentors underclassman through the school’s Mentors program. In March, Shaleka received first place in the local Regional Office of Education’s Writing Talent Search. After high school, she plans to attend DePaul University or Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and study social work. She is the 17-year-old daughter of James and Angel Johnson of Mounds.

  • Gabrielle Kendrick, junior, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago
    While attending high school, Gabrielle, 16, has been involved in numerous academic and extracurricular activities while being an honor student majoring in horticulture. She is an active member of the local Future Farmers of America chapter and National FFA Organization. Outside of school, Gabrielle is involved in the Early Outreach Program, Transitional College Program and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s Book Club program. Gabrielle plans to attend college after graduation and become a licensed physical therapist. She is the daughter of William and Matilda Kendrick of Chicago.

  • Nick Knuffman, senior at Camp Point Central High School in Camp Point
    While attending high school, Nick serves as class president and is in involved in track, Student Council, Spanish Club, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Panther Pride, high honor roll and Family Career and Community Leaders of America. Outside of school, Nick has been active in the community by helping with the Special Olympics and Arthritis Foundation, as well as collecting and delivering food for the local food drive at Christmas. After graduation, he plans to attend college and major in Business and Hospitality. Nick is the 18-year-old son of Robert and Cheryl Knuffman of Coatsburg.

  • Ran Ma, senior, University of Illinois Laboratory School in Urbana
    Ran, 17, has served as class vice-president during his sophomore and junior years. In addition, he interns for a local radio station, where he has produced numerous public service announcements and edited songs for the station. Ran also worked with a group of high school students and the local community to address the issue of health care. Ran plans to attend college and study either business or international studies. He is the son of Steve and Julia Wang of Urbana.

  • Lian States, senior, Fairfield Community High School in Fairfield
    Lian, 17, is an active member of 4-H, both at the local and state level. This is her second year on the Illinois State 4-H Youth Leadership Team, which provides leadership and support for statewide 4-H functions and helps determine state protocol and curriculum. She is also president of her regional group of 4-H Legislative Ambassadors. At school, Lian is involved with ALPHA peer leaders, National Honor Society, Math Team, and Scholastic Bowl, in addition to many other clubs. Lian is the daughter of Gary and Melinda States of Geoff.

Returning Student Advisory Council members are:

  • Micah S. Berman, senior, University Laboratory High School in Urbana
    Micah, 17, is an active student both inside and outside the classroom. He manages video productions for his school, from archiving plays and graduation ceremonies to producing music videos for sports awards ceremonies and video comedy skits. He served as Class President his sophomore and junior years, and was elected as student body president for his senior year. Outside the classroom, Micah does web work and computer support and consulting for companies and individuals in Champaign-Urbana, as well as volunteering much of his time helping organizations and his school. He was a competitive swimmer for seven years, and still swims recreationally whenever he gets the chance. Micah recently won the first annual Matt Willhelm Award for Service with a Smile for outstanding service to his high school. Micah is the son of Glenn and Colleen Berman of Urbana.

  • Emma L. LePere, senior, Belleville Township High School in Belleville
    Emma’s numerous extracurricular activities includes Volunteer West, which promotes volunteering with the school; Student Council, where she served as class representative and helps organize fundraisers and blood drives for her school; and Lifesavers, a group that spreads awareness and information about smoking, drinking, abuse and anorexia. Last year, Emma worked as a reporter for the school yearbook, Bellevinos. Outside of school, Emma volunteers at the local humane shelter. Emma is the 17-year-old daughter of Rusty and Vicki LePere.

  • Ryan H. Ornstein, junior, Grayslake North High School in Grayslake
    Ryan, 16, is an honor roll student at Grayslake North High School in Grayslake. He is starting center for the varsity football team. Ryan also plays varsity baseball. He achieved Eagle Scout rank in August 2007. Ryan enjoys creating movies and also serves on the Audio Visual Team at his church. In 2007, he was chosen runner-up for a baseball internship for the White Sox sponsored by MLB and Bentley College. He lives in Round Lake Beach with his parents, Clarese and Steve Ornstein.

  • Nicholas J. Diaz, senior, West Leyden High School in Northlake
    Nicholas, 17, is the son of Jose and Rita Diaz of Northlake. He is involved in many activities at school including the Principal’s Advisory Board, Class of 2008 Advisory Board, and Student Council. He has also participated in Principia, Math Team and Spanish Club. Music is Nicholas’ passion and he is a member of the cello section in the school orchestra and Chicago’s Protégé Philharmonic. He also volunteers at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a front-of-house intern. Nicholas plans to double major in government and history and pursue a master’s degree in business.