In our modern society, advances in technology are fast paced and constant. As educators, we must stop and contemplate the skills and critical thinking necessary for our students to develop in using technology and creating technology. December 5-11th is globally recognized as Computer Science Education Week (CSEd Week). During this week, students at LVHS participated in Hour of Code activities where they dedicated at least one hour in many of their classes to learning how to use different computer languages to solve problems in that subject area. Students coded in Algebra, Astronomy, Exploring Computer Science and several other courses. We asked them to do this to not only learn a specific coding language, but to help them appreciate how Computer Scientists use critical thinking skills to solve problems that enrich our lives and influence the technological advances of our world.
CSEd Week is only the beginning of LVHS’s commitment to preparing our students for the 21st century workforce. We’ve joined the Computer Science for All Consortium and were acknowledged for our commitment in a recent White House Announcement by President Obama. As a STEM school, LVHS is committed to exposing our students to Computer Science, coding, and 21st Century Skills and Habits. We know that the post-secondary environment in which our students will soon find themselves will continue to evolve. Furthermore, we know that the best way to prepare them for success is to ensure that they are able to persevere, challenge the status quo and think outside the box when they find themselves in challenging situations; these are all things that Computer Scientists do on a daily basis.
The Lake View High School Wildcats are taking major strides in preparation for future success in college and their careers, and scholarships continue to arrive this Spring.
The class of 2019 stepped forward with seven students selected to participate in the prestigious Northwestern Academy Program, a multi-year college preparation and enrichment program. The goal of Northwestern Academy is to work with students to strengthen leadership skills, self-reliance, critical and creative thinking skills, and self advocacy.
The Class of 2018 is trailblazing as they continue to work toward success in college and career. A cohort of sophomores started with Deloitte Academy this year. Deloitte Academy is a program sponsored by Deloitte Consulting that focuses on goal setting, college readiness, career skills, and presentation skills. In addition to Deloitte, almost one-third of the class applied to College Possible and OneGoal cohorts.
The class of 2017 is setting a record pace with 25 juniors selected as Chicago Scholars, including two who were also selected as Cubs Scholars. These students are already preparing for senior year with workshops, including College 101, FAFSA 101, College Selectivity, and Writing Personal Statements. To support our value of college preparation, LVHS formed two new partnerships this year with the organizations OneGoal and College Possible. OneGoal and College Possible both assist with preparing our students for college and beyond through 320 hours of curriculum in a supportive group of college-bound peers. Included in their work, these organizations coached a cohort of junior students to prepare for the ACT test, which included practicing skills in timeliness and college prep study habits. Three juniors won Alliance Française scholarships this year. Two students will be exploring Paris this summer, and one student will enjoy a 2-week immersion experience at Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota.
The class of 2016 started the year with the goal of all seniors applying to at least three colleges and 100% of eligible students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This year, LVHS had a total of 1865 college applications submitted. Of the 285 seniors in the class of 2016, 97 have received acceptances at DePaul University, 32 students were accepted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and 9 have been welcomed to the Illinois Institute of Technology. The graduating class of 2016 has already earned nearly $12.1 million in scholarships, and the acceptances, awards, and celebrations continue. The tremendous amount of awards includes a Golden Apple Scholar, one full ride to IIT, and one Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship to UIUC. Lake View is excited to see what else is coming for the Class of 2016.
The Duchossois Leadership Scholarship is one of the highest honors IIT offers to its students. Awards are given based on academic merit, leadership, and an interview. According to an admission representative at IIT, “The finalists for this award represent one of the most diverse and talented groups of prospective students [IIT] has ever met, which made the selection process this year especially competitive.” With this award, WenWen will receive a full tuition scholarship for four years, fully funded housing and meal plans, as well as participation in a fully funded leadership opportunity over the summer at IIT - an overall total value of nearly $250,000.
Receiving this scholarship means more than just being able to afford her top college. For Wenwen and her family, this scholarship is a dream come true. The move from China to the United States was challenging for WenWen, especially because at first she struggled academically. Yet, this young scholar was determined to show her appreciation to her parents through her hard work and leadership. WenWen shared, “When I arrived in the United States and started middle school, I decided that I had to start studying and get good grades. I wanted to go to college. I just knew I would need a scholarship.” Hard work and determination have become a part of WenWen’s daily life.
She starts her day at Lake View studying in Dual Credit, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses before traveling to Chicago’s Chinatown where she tutors recent immigrants, students just like herself only years ago. She also works two days a week with an internship at the Asian American Advancing Justice Foundation. After studying, volunteering, and working every day, she finally returns home to prepare a meal for her family. After dinner, it’s back to studying and eventually sleep. The weekends are no different. On Saturdays, WenWen works a twelve-hour day at a local restaurant. “There’s not a lot of time for socializing in my life,” says Wenwen, except for Sunday when she allows herself time to enjoy her favorite activity, sleep.
WenWen attributes much of her success to the support she receives from Lake View High School, particularly the English Second Language (ESL) department. “Ms. Esman (ESL coordinator) and the other ESL students are like family. We support each other and never feel embarrassed or awkward if we can’t speak English well. Ms. Esman is always there for us.”
WenWen Xie’s great dedication and achievements are just the beginning for a young woman who overcame obstacles to be on top of the world.
The Chicago Cubs are not the only team on a winning streak this year; not one, but two Lake View High School students were recently selected as Chicago Cubs Scholars. Juniors Eva Martinez and Jacqueline Escobar will be honored as Chicago Cubs Scholars at a special ceremony at Wrigley Field next September.
Launching in 2013, the Chicago Cubs Scholars program awards $20,000 in scholarships to each deserving high school student. In order to win, Jacqueline and Eva competed against other city-wide scholars in the process which included essays and multi-round interviews. While the leadership skills of the Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, have brought a tremendous amount of excitement to the Northside, Eva and Jacqueline’s leadership skills clearly impressed the selection committee.
Eva Martinez was thrilled at her selection. The three-sport athlete and flutist attributed her award to the passion, motivation, and leadership gained as a student athlete and musician. “This year I grew as a leader after being nominated as captain of the water polo team,” she stated. “It forced me to consider everyone’s perspective and help guide my teammates to a common goal.” Eva’s passion for athletics and time management skills are evident every spring as she competes in both water polo and track while balancing Advanced Placement courses alongside her music practice. Eva’s water polo coach and LVHS teacher, Mary O’Connor, commented, “Eva is beyond deserving of the Cubs Scholarship. She is a true example of what it means to be a student-athlete.”
Similar to Eva, Jacqueline credits her experience as a Lake View student-athlete in shaping her as a person. While taking AP Psychology this year, Jacqueline learned of the different coping mechanisms humans use for stress and trauma. She now has her sights set on being a doctor in a high-need area of the city in order to help others cope with their physical and mental needs. “Part of the reason I love running so much,” Jacqueline stated, “Is because it allows me to clear my mind. I spend a lot of time and energy on school, and running allows me to relieve stress.” Not only has cross country and track helped Jacqueline free her mind, but Jacqueline’s coach, Katherine Cervenka, has noticed Jacqueline’s leadership skills improve. Coach Cervenka shared, “Jacqueline has always been the type of person to lead by example. We always coach our freshmen to follow her lead academically and athletically.”
As Cubs Scholars, Eva and Jacqueline will receive a four-year college scholarship of $5,000 per year upon their enrollment to a four-year college or university. In addition, the Cubs Scholars will participate in Cubs College Prep throughout their senior year of high school and into college. Cubs College Prep partners each Cubs Scholar with a Cubs Front Office Associate mentor who will work with them through their senior year and in their transition to college. Students in the Chicago Scholars program have a 95% college graduation rate.
Erin Howell, Lake View’s College and Career Coach, was equally thrilled with Eva and Jacqueline’s award. “We are on a winning streak with Cubs Scholars and winners the past four years,” Howell said. “The fact that the Cubs selected two students shows how impressed they were with Eva and Jacqueline’s interviews.” While Eva and Jacqueline made history by becoming the only school to have two students chosen as Cubs Scholars in the same year, both are hoping that the Cubs can make history of their own this year by winning the World Series. Go! Cubs! Go!
While many are sleeping in, LVHS Senior Owen Leon wakes up each day in the summer at 5:00am to drive to work as a golf caddie at Ridgemoor Country Club, miles outside the city border. This year, the hard work paid off for Owen with more than caddie wages and lessons learned from the successful members of Ridgemoor, but also with a full tuition and housing scholarship to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“They had a sign on the wall in the caddyshack,” Owen recalls, “But, it always seemed like something too far away from me – like I’d never be able to get it. It read, ‘Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship.’” This year, Owen joins 260 other hardworking golf caddies as 2016 recipients of the Chick Evans Scholarship, which “awards full tuition and housing scholarships to high achieving caddies with limited financial means,” according to the Evans Scholars Foundation (ESF).
“Currently, 910 students are enrolled at 19 universities, including 14 where the Evans Scholarship owns and operates scholarship houses. More than 10,000 men and women have graduated as Evans Scholars” (ESF). Included in the 10,000 Evans Alumni, is LVHS Principal Scott Grens and his two siblings, who all caddied at Midlothian Country Club from the age of twelve. “It’s more than a scholarship. It’s a network of support for the rest of your life. From job opportunities to personal friendships, the Evans Scholarship Foundation opened doors for my entire family that may have otherwise been closed.”
Growing up in Chicago’s North Center Neighborhood, Owen attended Bell Elementary School, where he realized early on that he was “terribly shy and apprehensive,” according to Owen who admits, “When caddying, I had no choice but to bond with other caddies and especially the members from the country club.” Owen quickly emerged as a leader in the caddyshack and in school. After 8th grade, he attended Lake View High School, his neighborhood high school, where he became captain of the school’s cross country and track teams. Owen’s always on the run, as he points out, “Aside from rigorous college courses at Lake View, sports practice every day during the summer and school year, I still try to remain committed to working as a caddie.”
When asked how he does it, manage his time and work, Owen says, “I don’t think I would have been as involved in extracurriculars, or know my teachers as well as I do, if I went to a bigger school; it’s just a lot more individualized here (at LVHS). And, the AP (Advanced Placement) courses really challenged me as well.” Owen is quick to always thank others for helping him, like his coach and LVHS teacher, Ms. Cervenka. And, while it doesn’t sound like Owen will need it, help from others is waiting for him at U of I. The Evans Scholars have already been invited to attend a personalized orientation to their new HOME and school. Owen shared his visit, “We toured the school and scholarship house. They sat the parents and all the new scholars down, had speeches for us from seniors and sophomores in the house, talked about our responsibilities and dealing with classes, and even paired me with mentors as Pledge Parents. Like me, they enjoy running; so, it’s almost like the first day of school again.”
Principal Grens knows Owen will continue to succeed and points out the Evans selection criteria as proof. “He’s going to thrive at U of I and in the Evans House. You have to have a record of academics, character, and leadership to even be considered by the Evans Foundation. That’s Owen. And, that’s what we’re about here at Lake View.” Other recipients of the 2016 Evans Scholarship will attend schools like Northwestern University, Notre Dame, and the University of Michigan after graduating from schools like Loyola Academy, St. Ignatius, Fenwick, U of C Lab HS, Walter Payton, and Jones College Prep – the only two other CPS High Schools with Evans Scholars.
For Owen, he realizes the magnitude of the scholarship award after years of his hard work, “This is the ultimate step in getting to where I want to be in the future; it’s a huge opportunity.”