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Board of Education Honors U-46 Students for State Achievements

May 17, 2021

The School District U-46 Board of Education Monday night will recognize 17 middle school students who earned first place in the Illinois Science Olympiad, and 12 high school students who placed first in the HOSA - Future Health Professionals competition. The Board will also honor the District’s music education program, which has been recognized as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” by a national foundation for three consecutive years.

The middle school students, who are 7th and 8th graders at Eastview Middle School in Bartlett, won their division at the Illinois Science Olympiad, which was held virtually last month and included 17 science and technology-related categories.

“It was an amazing performance,” said Eastview teacher Neal Ford, who coaches the team along with fellow Eastview science teacher Heather Flick. “Every student was highly motivated and worked hard to prepare for their events despite the circumstances and hardships encountered this year due to Covid-19.”

The competition is organized by the Illinois Science Olympiad, a non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education. The group sponsors classroom activities, workshops and competitions like the one where the Eastview students won the “A” division. 

In addition to winning first place overall in the statewide competition, the Eastview team earned first place in Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, Fossils, Machines and Road Scholar categories. They took second in Water Quality, third in Circuit Lab and fifth in Crimebusters and Anatomy. 

The Eastview Science Olympiad team roster included 7th graders Jediael Chintha, Tristan Combs, Luke Davis, Noah Fleck, Jake Hoelterhoff and Sydney Perkins, along with 8th graders Chloe Curran, Frederick Lorek, Darsh Patel, Jai Patel, Krish Patel, Aanya Patel, Leo Positano, Aaditya Shah and Beverly Yu. Team alternates were 7th graders Aarav Shah and Aydin Syed.

Two other U-46 schools also advanced to the state finals. Ellis Middle School, headed by coach Holly Yee, made the state finals for the first time in school history and earned medals in four categories, including a second place in meteorology. South Elgin High School made its third state finals appearance and captured a fifth-place medal in astronomy, led by coach Michael Markey. 

HOSA - Future Health Professionals Students Recognized 

The high school students being honored Monday were among 40 from U-46 who took part in March in the state competition sponsored by HOSA - Future Health Professionals (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America). It is a global student-led organization with a mission to promote career opportunities in the health industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.  

The HOSA competitions, to which more than 8,000 students qualify and compete nationally each year, allow students to showcase the knowledge gained in their coursework. These U-46 students placed first in the state in their category:

Bartlett High School 

  • The team of Tamara Aldabbagh, Riva Lakkadi, Devanshi Patel, Paras Shah in the category of Creative Problem Solving

Elgin High School

  • Angeline Nato in the category Researched Persuasive Speaking
  • Siya Patel in the category State Pin Design
  • The team of Harshil Bhavsar, Krish Shah, Jesus Serrano, and Vraj Patel in the category of HOSA Bowl

South Elgin High School

  • Sakhee Thakkar in the category of Nurse-Assisting
  • Ritu Patel in the category of Healthy Lifestyle

Best Communities for Music Education 

The final recognition at Monday’s BOE meeting will celebrate the fact that for the third straight year, School District U-46 has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. 

The Best Communities for Music Education designation, now in its 22nd year, is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the District answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

U-46 was one of just 14 school districts in Illinois to receive the honor, which came after a year in which the District’s elementary, middle, and high school music teachers had to find creative ways to make music come alive during the forced shift to the District’s Distance Learning model. Teachers visited homes to repair musical instruments or deliver sheet music, created virtual ensembles, and embraced technology to bring music to their students in new formats. 

"U-46 is a school district that recognizes the value in a comprehensive music education,” said U-46 Fine Arts Coordinator Jaimie Giraldo. “I’m always proud of our passionate, talented music teachers, but more so than ever during this challenging time when they’ve had to pull from their reserves of energy, experience, and creativity to reinvent music education.” 

The Board of Education will recognize the Eastview and HOSA students with “Accent on Achievement” certificates during its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 17. Giraldo will also accept an “Accent on Achievement” on behalf of the District’s music educators.

Members of the public may join the meeting live via a Zoom webinar at Members of the public can speak to the board through the Zoom application during the public comment portion of the meeting, or in person, although social distancing restrictions will be in place. Learn more about the options for BOE attendance here. The meeting will also livestream on the District's YouTube Channel