Students recognized in April for their accomplishments by Board of Education


The following students were recognized by the District 214 Board of Education in April 2019 for their academic, community service and co-curricular accomplishments. To view and download pictures, click here.



DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. In Illinois, there are 55 DECA chapters with over 3,000 members, and the state competition was held in March. Over the course of two days, these students took a cluster exam, an economics exam and participated in two role plays in their event category.

Buffalo Grove seniors Vai Myadam and Annie Waz, earned first place in Financial Services Team Decision Making. This category refers to services offered in the finance industry by financial institutions. Concepts include understanding the source and purpose of financial statements, the impact of management decisions on statements, and the analysis and interpretation of data for planning purposes.

Buffalo Grove seniors Lauryn Lintner and Christina Ruterschmidt finished 1st in the Marketing Management Team Decision Making category, which includes marketing and management functions and tasks that can be applied broadly in a non-retail marketing environment. Christina and Lauryn are BG’s first back-to-back state champions, as they placed 1st place in this same event last year.

Buffalo Grove senior John Burzawa took first place in the Principles of Hospitality & Tourism Event, which uses language associated with careers in Hotels, Restaurants, and Tourism and Travel.

Buffalo Grove senior Alfred Roberts earned a first-place finish in the Business Finance event, which challenges students to perform management functions and tasks focusing on high-level financial and business planning, including collection and organization of data, development and use of reports and analysis of data to make business decisions.

These six students now join BG's seven previous 1st place state finishers.

Perfect ACT score

The ACT tests students in English, math, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. Out of the nearly 2 million ACT exams administered each year, approximately 2,200 students achieve a perfect score. For the class of 2018, District 214's composite score was 26, Illinois' average was 23.9 and the national composite score was 20.8.

Junior Nick Castaneda is being recognized for his perfect score of a 36 on the ACT. Not only is Nick a phenomenal student, he is a compassionate young man who is heavily involved in extracurricular activities both in and outside of school. He participates in swimming and diving, water polo, math team, Model UN, orchestra, National Honor Society and Boy Scouts. Nick plans to study actuarial science in college.

Illinois High School Dance Festival

On February 9, BG's Orchesis, along with other groups from across the state, auditioned for the chance to perform at the Illinois High School Dance Festival, which will be held on April 27 at Curie Metro High School. The festival’s Student Choreography Showcase is the greatest honor that Illinois offers for student choreographers. Senior Jenna Stasik choreographed the piece “To You, From Me,” which was selected to be performed in the showcase. Buffalo Grove was one of 11 high schools chosen for this high honor.

Team members include Brooke Bickhaus, Alexa Kantor, Amanda Kim, Michelle Oku, Lily Noonan, Jenna Stasik, Debbie Wells and Brooke Wilkinson.



On March 7 and 8, sophomore Mariano Alanis represented Elk Grove High School and competed at the 2019 state DECA competition where he was awarded State Champion in the Financial Consulting event. Over 1,400 students from 64 schools competed, making this a significant achievement for Mariano. He represented Illinois at DECA’s National Conference in Orlando, Florida.

CPR state competition

Last December, junior Anna Mayschak and senior Julia Ward took preliminary examinations to qualify for the state competition in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Their state round of testing consisted of both an online exam, followed by a practical skills exam at the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) state conference. They are state champions and scored higher than hundreds of other CPR teams in the state, despite the fact that the club just started in October.


Illinois High School Dance Festival

In February, Orchesis groups from across the state auditioned for the chance to perform at the Illinois High School Dance Festival on April 27. The festival’s Student Choreography Showcase is the greatest honor that Illinois offers for student choreographers. Hersey was one of 11 schools selected for this honor with a piece choreographed by Maria Ulbert and Lainey Winter entitled “Mind Full.”

Team members include Abby Andre, Taylor Kalata, Anna Linscott, Sam Schoenfeld, Sydney Shiffman, Jenny Tinaglia, Maria Ulbert, Elizabeth Watson, Lainey Winter, Sophie Winter, Becca Burke and Evie Kangas.


Hersey seniors John Dattilo and Carter Zagorski finished their DECA Business Club careers in style, achieving first place in the entire state in the Buying and Merchandising event. John and Carter have been partners all four years and have qualified for the state competition every single year; they are the only duo to accomplish that feat in Hersey's DECA history. They placed third in Regional their freshman and sophomore years and were crowned Regional champs during their junior and senior campaigns. Junior year they finished third in the state and qualified for the national competition in Atlanta, then won the state championship this year and also qualified for the national competition in Orlando, which will be later this year.

Perfect AP exam score 

In 2018, only 675 students in the country earned every possible point on an AP exam, receiving the maximum score on each portion of the exam. Senior Clarissa Gomez was one of only two people in the country to earn every possible point on the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Exam. Additionally, last May, Clarissa was recognized for receiving a perfect score on both the ACT and SAT tests.



Prospect senior Grace Ryan earned 1st place in her individual competitive event at the 2019 Illinois DECA competition in Rosemont. At the state competition the first weekend in March, Grace competed in the Retail Merchandising Series event. Her gold medal was awarded for a combination of her scores in two role plays and exams in Economics and Marketing. This is Grace’s second year participating in the academic business club, DECA and she also is the current Prospect chapter president.

Illinois High School Dance Festival

On February 9, Orchesis groups from across the state auditioned for the chance to perform at the Illinois High School Dance Festival on April 27. Prospect High School has been selected to perform for many years and was chosen again this year. The performance is titled, “This Place is a Shelter” and was choreographed by Anamaria Ignjatovic.

Team members include Evelyn Burkhard, Olivia Cole, Sarah Eyles, Anamaria Ignjatovic, Claire HutchinsMichelle Kies and Elle Weber.


FCCLA state competition

The FCCLA state competition was held in Springfield on April 5. These students scored 90 or higher and received gold medals in the categories of Preschool Storytelling, International Experience, Frosted Cookie, Fondant Cakes and Formal Wear Fashion Construction. In addition to her gold medal, senior Emily Nelson received a "Most Outstanding" for her Decorated Fondant Cake. Emily has competed at the state level four years in a row. 

Team members include Olivia De Luca, Sarah Wiel, Evelyn Greenbury, Micaela Johnson, Julia Moran, Julia Mlynowski, Emily Nelson, Kamika Patel and Adrienne Powell.


IHSA All-State Debate

Wheeling sophomore Geneve Halfman was selected to the IHSA All-State Debate Team at the IHSA State Tournament in Bloomington-Normal last month. She also won second place overall speaker at this tournament, second only to the senior Captain of Captains. At the ICDA State Tournament in February Geneve won first place speaker.

Illinois State High School Dance Festival

Wheeling Orchesis members were selected on February 9 by a panel of professionals to perform at the Illinois State High School Dance Festival Showcase concert on April 27 at Curie High School. Katherine Ambrose choreographed the dance "Low Light," which features 10 dancers in a compelling statement about releasing what binds an individual. Pieces were selected from throughout the state for this prestigious concert. This is the 17th year Wheeling Orchesis has been selected for state under the direction of Diane Rawlinson.

Team members include Katherine AmbroseRene AndresJuliana ArroyoVeronica CamargoHanna Gajek, Anastasiia Havryliuk, Calista MackeyKaithlyn MirandaKevin Rendon-NavaLexi Conejo and Shailie Shah.  

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