Oak Lawn Community High School is pleased to announce the fifteen students with the highest grade point averages for the class of 2012. The students were honored at the school’s annual honor night and were adorned with medals to be worn with their graduation gowns.
The class valedictorian and ranked first in the class is Amanda Sweis with a grade point average of 4.7143. Amanda is the daughter of Hanan Shaktah of Oak Lawn. She will attend Loyola University Chicago in order to study biology and complete pre-med courses. Amanda eventually hopes to practice medicine as a pediatrician or a family doctor.
The class salutatorian ranked 2nd in the class is Kevin Rodriguez with a grade point average of 4.6415. Kevin is the son of Ignacio and Estolia Rodriguez of Oak Lawn. Kevin plans to study biology at the University of Chicago this fall. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he intends to go to medical school to become a physician.
The 3rd student is Eric Templin with a grade point average of 4.5862. Eric is the son of Jeff and Connie Templin of Oak Lawn. Eric will attend Purdue University-Calumet for mechanical engineering and aspires to obtain a job in the clean energy field. Eric wants to help make clean energy a permanent and accessible alternative to our current energy sources.
The 4th student in the class is Karina Alvarez with a 4.5098 grade point average. Karina is the daughter of Benito and Rosalie Alvarez of Oak Lawn. Karina has been accepted into the Honor’s Program at DePaul University’s College of Commerce. She is a recipient of the Abby Foundation Scholarship and the DePaul University Scholar’s Award, worth a total of $46,000. Karina is interested in learning about diversity and other cultures, international commerce, dance, and music. Karina will pursue a career in either the business field or in education.
The 5th student is Mariela Noyola with a 4.4821 grade point average. Mariela is the daughter of Lucila Campos of Oak Lawn. Mariela will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received a University President’s Award Program Scholarship.
The 6th student is Kristin Mancillas with a 4.4808 grade point average. Kristin is the daughter of Ellen and Paul Mancillas of Oak Lawn. Kristin has been accepted into the Honor’s College at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and received a four-year, full-ride scholarship through the President’s Award Program. She plans to attend UIC this fall to major in chemistry. After earning her undergraduate degree, Kristin wants to study pharmacy in order to become a pharmacist.
The 7th student is Nikita Belyaev with a 4.3214 grade point average. Nikita is the son of Vera Nieminski of Oak Lawn. Nikita was born in Russia and came to the United States in 7th grade with no prior knowledge of the English language. Nikita will attend Dominican University where he plans on studying chemistry, economics, and pre-medicine. He hopes to become a medical doctor.
The 8th student is Anthony Scardina with a 4.3 grade point average. Anthony is the son of Susan Scardina of Oak Lawn. Anthony plans on attending Elmhurst College this fall where he will double major in mathematics and economics. Elmhurst College awarded Anthony with a scholarship worth $17,000 per year for four years. Anthony wants to become an economist with a math background. In his free time, Anthony enjoys playing tennis, chess, hockey, and learning new languages. By the age of 40, he hopes to learn the French, Italian, Spanish, and Polish languages.
The 9th student is Caitlin Danforth with a grade point average of 4.2909. Caitlin is the daughter of Ann Beattie of Oak Lawn. Caitlin is the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at Eastern Illinois University worth over $42,000. Caitlin will study at EIU this fall where she will major in business management and minor in English. She also will participate on the swim team. Caitlin hopes to become a literary agent or an editor at Scholastic Books publishing firm.
The 10th student is Veronica Quintero with a 4.2679 grade point average. Veronica is the daughter of Luis and Lynn Quintero of Oak Lawn. Veronica received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, is an Illinois State Scholar, and participated in journalism, National Honor Society and mathletes.
The 11th student is Gina Baldea with a grade point average of 4.25. Gina is the daughter of Kathy and Brian Baldea of Oak Lawn. Gina will attend the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. Gina enjoys sports and photography, and playing the guitar and piano.
The 12th student is Sofia Vatougios with a grade point average of 4.2453. Sofia is the daughter of Stamatis and Maria Vatougios of Oak Lawn. Sofia has been accepted into the Saint Xavier University Honor’s College and is a recipient of an AHEPA Scholarship. Sofia plans on studying political science, Spanish, and pre-law. She hopes to earn her PhD and become either a lawyer, judge, or author. Sofia enjoys reading and writing, and is proud to be able speak 3 languages: Greek, Spanish, and English.
The 13th student is Katherine Bialas with a grade point average of 4.2222. Katherine is the daughter of Lucyna Bialas of Oak Lawn. Katherine is an Illinois State Scholar, has received four academic letters, and has studied Polish dance since the age of 12. She currently teaches Polish dance to younger students. Katherine will attend Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. She will major in biology and would like to become a veterinarian.
The 14th student is Daniel Powers with a grade point average of 4.2182. Daniel is the son of Patrick and Dianne Powers of Oak Lawn. Daniel participated in both the track and cross country teams while at Oak Lawn. He became captain of the cross country team and made cross country all-conference. This summer Daniel will travel with the Oak Lawn Cross Countries program to Amachuma, Bolivia where he will work with other students to build a hospital for the community. Daniel is a Joseph Blazek Foundation Scholarship winner and will attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in order to study civil engineering.
The 15th student is Katelyn Mendez with a grade point average of 4.2069. Katelyn is the daughter of Joyce Andrasco-Mendez of Oak Lawn. Katelyn received a Presidential Scholarship as well as a College of Education Scholarship from the University of Illinois. She also received the Oak Lawn Rotary Scholarship, a Spartan Education Foundation Scholarship, and an Oak Lawn PTSA Scholarship. Katelyn will study early childhood education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and wants to become a pre-school teacher.