Thirty-one seniors were feted at the 46th annual Student Honor Dinner sponsored by the last week at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel in Northbrook.
More than 180 persons cheered and lauded the students who excelled in all areas of school endeavors, including academic departments and extracurricular activities. Eleven of the 31 students received scholarships. helped open the evening with a proclamation.
“You should be commended for your hard work and academic excellence, whether you are awarded scholarships or not,” Belsky said during last Wednesday' event. "You’re not only important to the community today but to the future.”
, who was nominated by the English department, was just happy to be graduating high school. A year ago his father was deported. This year he read the lyrics to some of his music at , where he had a winning effort.
“It’s a passion I have,” Quintana said of the creation he read at Focus. “The experience was phenomenal. Not just because I won the slam poetry but sharing my voice with the rest of the people.”
Awarded the Rotary scholarship, Quintana was thrilled to be included. He had no idea he would be lauded like this.
“Everything was a surprise. I was like really happy. It’s just another example that everything’s possible,” Quintana said. "Last year was a tough year for me. It affected me like a lot,” he added, referring to his father’s deportation.
Quintana was not the only surprised honoree. Jacob Nankin, who was nominated for his work with Snowball, was also taken aback. Snowball is a program that promotes healthy lifestyles, according to the Honor Dinner's program.
“I was surprised,” said Nankin, who plans to enroll at the University of Michigan in August. “I had no idea what it [the Chamber’s Student Honor Dinner] was. I thought it was really nice. It’s good to see everybody else nominated.”
Like Nankin, Highland Park City son, Josh, was once honored at a past dinner for his efforts with Snowball. Olian's daughter, Alix, was also honored for her work on the student senate.
“It’s a great evening. There are a few things in Highland Park that I think stand out. This is one of them. I’ve had the privilege of having two children who were honored,” Olian said.
Another student who was surprised when she got a letter from the Chamber of Commerce was , who was honored for her efforts in the fine arts department.
“I didn’t even know this existed,” Johnson said. “I got a letter in the mail saying I was nominated. I’m thrilled. I feel small in comparison to the crazy things these kids do everywhere all over the world. It’s a huge honor.”
One person who was not surprised at all was Public Relations Associate Director Amy Schrage. Ravinia has been handing out a scholarship at the Honor Dinner for a number of years. Joshua Sechan, who was nominated by the fine arts department, earned the prize this year.
“We are giving away a scholarship to one of the students tonight,” Schrage said. “We love being involved with it, being able to help [student recipients] pursue a career.”
Other scholarship winners were: Adam Bloom, William S. Bradford DDS Scholarship; Aishling Thurow, William S. Bradford, Jr. Scholarship; Kasia Tomaszynska, North Shore University Health System-Highland Park Hospital Scholarship; Antonio Avila and Giovanni Mota, First Bank of Highland Park Scholarship; Ivonne Uribe, America; and Marguerite Biagi, Chamber of Commerce Scholarship.
Other nominees were: Nicholas Babcock, Anton Evrukhin, Guadalupe Garcia, Kalie Greenberg, Jordan Hainsfurther, Charlotte Higginson, Susan Karabush, Olivia Lerrick, Benjamin Levine, Melanie Pascal, Keren Reichler, Claire Roberti, Chloe Sacks, Leo Schwartz, Natalie Shay, Morgan Snower, Alexander Suber and Taylor Vender.
Click the image above to watch an excerpt of the video shown at the Honor Dinner, done by .