Stellar Student 2011-2012

NBC 5 News Today features a Stellar Student every week.

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Salvador Meza, 17, attends St. Francis de Sales High School. The junior ranks number 10 in his junior class. Salvador plays on his school's varsity basketball and soccer teams. He also plays songs at elementary schools in the community.
David Lopez, 17, attends St. Francis de Sales High School. His 4.03 GPA makes him the number one student in the junior class. He acts in school plays, participates on the student council and tutors 2nd and 3rd graders.
Arissa Ruano, 16, attends St. Francis de Sales High School. Her 4.63 GPA makes her the number one student in her sophomore class. Arissa also makes time to tutor fourth graders.
Ashley Jackson, 16, attends Southland College Prep. She was one of 34 students out of 900 applicants accepted in Howard University's intensive law school boot camp this summer. Ashley dreams of opening a bankruptcy law firm to help people rebuild their lives.
Kelsey Shoemaker will attend Indiana University this fall. The AP scholar graduated on the high honor roll earning straight A's throughout high school. Kelsey plans to major in biology with hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Brittni Pratt, 16, attends Lindblom Math and Science Academy. The rising junior traveled to Nepal with "BuildOn" to build a school there. Brittni believes she's changing the world brick by brick.
Karley Woodson is a rising senior at Merrillville High School in Indiana. The teen dances ballet and plays piano and violin. She made the honor roll three straight years.
Nilay Sriram attends Anne Fox Elementary School in Hanover Park. The fifth grader excels in the classroom and on the stage. He starred as the "Tin Man" in his school's production of "The Wizard of Oz."
Nora Castrejon graduated from Benito Juarez High School with a 4.6 GPA this school year. Nora plans to attend Brown University and double major in political science and public policy this fall. Stefan and Daniella met Nora at an education event they emceed. Nora won a $2,500 scholarship.
Olivia McDonald, 8, attends St. Therese Chinese Catholic in Chinatown. The second grader earns straight A's. The young gymnast trains up to 18 hours a week. She qualified for the State finals.
Tietl Gonzalez, 15, attends St. Patrick's High School. He earned a fellowship and scholarship during his first two years. The teen swims on his high school's top ranking swim team. Tietl was a member of a team participating in the Pan-American Olympic Games in Mexico.
Calyle Peyton, 11, attends Chicago Jesuit Academy. The fifth grader broke his school's record during his school's annual PI Celebration Memorization Contest. The math whiz memorized 302 digits! The straight-A student aspires to attend Harvard University.
17-year-old Amanda Novak just graduated from Fieldcrest High School in Minonk, Illinois on May 20th. She's a Stellar Student because she managed to graduate from high school in 3 years!
Brianna Gray is a Junior at Muchin College Prep. "She maintains all A’s and B’s in honors and A.P. courses, and she is a member of the varsity cheerleading team."
Noah Krouse is a 5th grader at Mill Creek Elementary in Geneva, IL. "Noah is an extremely responsible student who earns top grades while being in Accelerated and Enriched reading and math."
13-year-old Noelle Walton is a student at the University of Chicago Carter G. Woodson Middle School. Noelle has consistently been on the honor roll after obtaining straight A's.
16-year-old Martha Aguirre is a student at Theodore Roosevelt High School. Her teacher says she's an exemplary studnet who has the highest GPA in the AVID program.
Jazmin Castro is a student at Unity Jr. High in Chicago. Her Math teacher nominated her because she is an amazing student and gets straight A's every quarter. Jazmin enjoys Tai Kwon Do in her spare time.
Marc Smith is a student at West Aurora High School. This gifted musician plays the trumpet in his high school band and volunteers with the Salvation Army.
Imani Gwendolyn Graham is a Senior at King College Prep High School. Her hard work and exemplary efforts are the characteristics of a Stellar Student.
Andrew Zotti from Lincoln Park High School scored a perfect 36 on his ACT. Andrew says he attended some sessions at LPHS to prepare for the test. He plans to major in Environmental Engineering and has applied to several Ivy League schools, including Stanford.
Samuel Saks-Fithian from Northside College Prep obtained a perfect score of 36 on the ACT. Samuel says he did not prepare for the ACT, he just took it. He plans to major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Philippe Chlenski from Lincoln Park High School scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. Philippe says he barely studied for the ACT and got it the first time. His advice to other students: "Make sure they know what they’re about to take before the real thing by familiarizing themselves with practice materials. It is very important to be relaxed when you take the test."
Kyle Erf from Whitney Young High School also obtained a perfect 36 on the ACT. Kyle says he did not do any special preparation for the test. However, he says he did take a practice test twice to gain experience and improve his score.
Joshua Williams from Northside College Prep scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. Joshua says he did nothing to prepare for the test, he simply took it. He plans on majoring in Biology in college with an additional concentration in Math.
David Jaffe from Northside College Prep says he got a perfect score on the ACT thanks to the help of the Kaplan ACT Prep Book. He is undecided about a career to pursue, but is considering a major in Linguistics.
Andrew Cvik from Payton College Prep obtained a perfect score on the ACT and SAT. Andrew says he prepared for the ACT by taking practice exams. He plans to major in Physics.
Mark Israel, 10, attends McDowell Elementary School of International Studies on the South Side. His teacher calls him brilliant and well-spoken. Mark once told her "For every failure, there is success."
Kirsten Lim, 6, attends Union Ridge School in Harwood Heights. The young environmentalist encourages everyone she knows to "Go Green." The straight-A student watches NBC 5 News Today everyday to keep her classmates up-to-date on the news and weather. Thanks Kirsten.
Michaiah Young, 15, attends Walter Payton College Prep High School. The sophomore is the president of two academic programs outside of her school. She takes all honors classes and maintains a 4.85 GPA.
Kala Erickson attends New Prairie High School in New Carlisle, IN. The senior holds many leadership posts including, president of the National Honor Society, president of the Student Senate and general manager of Cougar Broadcast Media. Kala also loves to act in school plays and musicals. She maintains a 3.9 GPA.
Paige Wanner, 9, attends Willow Creek School in Woodridge. The fourth grader maintains her honor roll status while volunteering. Paige donates her hair to "Locks of Love," works with special needs children and collects donations for a local food pantry.
Jared Jackson attends CICS Wrightwood School on the city's Southwest Side. The fourth grader's favorite subject is social studies. Jared outdid himself on his exams last fall. His math scores were on a seventh grade level and reading scores on a tenth grade level.
Jamie Minard, 11, attends Holy Ghost School in Wood Dale. The sixth grader earned straight A's her first trimester. She plays basketball, volleyball, piano and volunteers as an altar server.
Deja Harrell, 16, attends King College Prep High School. The junior maintains a 3.8 GPA. She studies all the time even bringing her homework to dinner. The college-bound teen spends her time looking for scholarships.
Stephany Barrera attends Gage Park High School in Chicago. The freshman earned a 4.0 GPA in her first semester. She serves on the student council and participates on her school's robotics team.
Alison Green attends Mark T. Skinner Classical School. The fifth grader earns straight A's at the Near West Side school. Her love of reading inspired her last year to participate in a book drive for underperforming schools.
Justin Perkins, 14, attends McKinley Jr. High School in South Holland. School officials awarded him with the Student of the Month award for November 2011. Justin sings in the choir and helps teach kids martial arts.
Katie Holcomb, 12, attends Peterson Elementary School. This young gymnast is the reigning Junior Olympic National Champion for her level and age group. Katie earns straight-A's. She plays in the school band, sings in the school choir and runs cross country and track.
Kamara, Kaleaha and Kaylin are Stellar Student triplets. The 11-year-old girls have made the honor roll since kindergarten. They participate in the cheerleading and Girl Scouts. The triplets dream of attending Harvard together.
Gabriel Gloria, 8, attends John W. Gates Elementary. He excels in spelling and math. Gabriel also plays basketball and swims. He always strives to do his best!
Michael Madkines attends Prosser Career Academy High School. The sophomore participates in several after-school programs including, After School Matters Video Production. Michael's big goal is to earn a full ride to college. He would like to attend a school outside the United States. However if he decides to stay closer to home, he wants to attend Illinois Institute of Technology.
Jaylen Sanders, 11, attends Polaris Charter Academy. The fifth grader raises the bar for himself and his classmates. Jaylen's class is studying space exploration. Jaylen recreates his experiments at home and runs additional trials to expand his research.
Emmanuel Henry, 18, attends Proviso East High School. The senior excels in his honors and advanced placement courses to keep up his 4.0 GPA. Emmanuel volunteers with the Salvation Army on the weekends serving hot food to hungry adults and kids. Emmanuel is also a member of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps or NJROTC.
AJ Guanci, 10, loves to read and believes studying is the key to success. The fifth grader plays several sports including lacrosse, baseball and soccer. AJ also works for his grandfather three days a week splitting wood, moving brush and mowing lawns. He helps his grandmother when he spends time with her.
Emma Boyle, 11, attends Jewel Middle School in North Aurora. The sixth grader was chosen to participate in a self-contained enrichment and talented program throughout middle school. Emma is learning how to speak French and Chinese. She also plays in the band and serves on the student council.
Malorie Poyner, 12, attends Seneca Junior High School. She has attended every day of school since kindergarten. Malorie earns straight A's and makes time for band, basketball, volleyball and track.
Samuel Reiman, 17, attends Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago. Sam started volunteering in his school's library when he was in seventh grade when he saw a need for another set of hands. Sam has racked up 600 service learning hours even though CPS only requires 40 hours to graduate.
Raushan Richardson, 15, attends Urban Prep Academy on the East Garfield Park campus. The sophomore has a 3.96 GPA. He plays three positions on his high school football team -- receiver, running back and cornerback.
Alexis Platt, 11, attends Caroline Sibley School. She started the sixth grade off to a fantastic start. Last year, Alexis earned straight A's! Her mom says her daughter is the type of person who is determined to do well.
Kelly Beverly, 8, attends Chicago International Charter Schools at the Basil campus. Kelly made the honor roll and had perfect attendance since kindergarten. Her stellar performance in the classroom gave her an opportunity to meet NBA star Dwyane Wade.
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