'207's Best' for Extracurricular Achievement

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'207's Best' honored for Extracurricular Achievement
Posted on 06/05/2018
Four seniors were recently honored by the Maine Township High School District 207 Board of Education as “207's Best.”  For May honors, Brandon Christopher, of Maine South, Olga Goumas, of Maine East, and Destiny Onyeise, of Maine West, were recognized for Extra-Curricular Achievement during the Board of Education’s May meeting. Also recognized was Maine South senior Ryan Prendergast, who was unable to attend the April Board meeting, when honors were given for Technology Innovation and Leadership. 

At Maine South, Brandon Christopher offers proof that one student’s extracurricular interests can be widely varied. He is an all-state, all-region and all-conference distance runner, and his personal best 3-mile time is the 6th fastest in school history. He received Best Sportsmanship Award in the Central Suburban League. Athletic Director Andy Turner said Brandon “represents our school at the highest level.” Turner selected Brandon to speak to incoming freshmen and their parents about the benefits of co-curricular activities. As a musician, Brandon was saxophone section leader, a role in which he helped shape a section that Band Director David Hutter describes as “productive, disciplined and positive.” In his introductory letter, South Principal Dr. Ben Collins observed that “You can see (Brandon) early in the morning at band or late at night training for track and cross country.” Brandon told Board of Education members that he will be studying business and running cross country at the University of Dayton. 

In his introductory letter, Maine East Principal Dr. Mike Pressler, characterized Olga Goumas as “always willing to volunteer, quietly assume control, and get the job done.”  Her list of activities includes serving as Co-President of the Principal’s Leadership Team, a Student Council member,  a PE Leader, an Assembly MC, a four-year member of the basketball program and a member of the Maine East Cares and Bake for a Change clubs. She has taken a challenging course load, including several Advanced Placement and accelerated courses. Dr. Pressler quoted several teachers who lauded Olga for her maturity, leadership, positive energy and dedication to academics and extracurricular activities alike. He noted that his work with Olga on his Principal’s Student Leadership Team leads him to conclude that Olga is “a class act who is sure to be successful at whatever she sets out to achieve.” Olga told the Board she will study nutrition at St. Louis University in preparation for a career as a dietitian.

In her introductory letter, Maine West Principal Dr. Audrey Haugan noted that Destiny Onyeise has made contributions across many activities in her areas of interest: academics, student voice and communication. Toward that end, she has been involved in Class Council, COACH Tutors, Girls Track and Field, Math Honor Society, National Honor Society, Pi Sigma Pi, Spanish National Honor Society, Speech Team, Student Council, Tri-M, Voice for the Nameless, V-Show, Warrior Pride, Westerner newspaper and Winter Warriors. She designed a three-month outreach program for elementary students and provided National Honor Society leadership in a way consistent with its integrity and purpose. Dr. Haugan wrote that Destiny “has been involved in the advancement and well-being of herself and others at Maine West, and has certainly made a positive difference for others.” Destiny told the Board that she plans to study political science as part of a pre-med path at Loyola University Chicago.

In his introductory letter, Maine South Principal Dr. Ben Collins quoted several teachers who lauded Ryan for his love of learning and intellectual curiosity. Physics teacher Jack Marino stated that “Whenever I am talking with Ryan, in the back of my mind is an awareness that I am probably interacting with a future CEO of a successful tech company. He has the curiosity and playfulness of an 8-year-old and maturity of a 30-year-old entrepreneur.” Ryan has earned a 4.84 GPA through the most difficult courses available. He is President of Computer Science Club, organized the Hack Ridge hackathon, designed a website called Hawklot, through which students count rent out parking spaces on days they were not at school. He was part of a team that placed 6th globally in Supercomputing International Competition. He created the Maine Madness website, instrumental in raising money for the school-wide fundraiser. Ryan told the Board that he will study computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence, at the University of Illinois.  

The “207's Best’ program recognizes outstanding students monthly throughout the school year.  Academic achievement awards are given in two months. Awards for community service, fine and performing arts, improved performance, elective area of achievement, technology leader/innovator and extracurricular achievement are given one month each. Teachers nominate students, and an executive committee makes final decisions. Honorees are then recognized by the Board of Education, which instituted the program.
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