Eighty-five Maple School students were honored with the 36th Annual President’s Award for Educational Excellence (PAEE) on Wednesday, April 28, during a virtual assembly. This award is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Secondary Principals.
Superintendent Dr. Brian Wegley, Board of Education President Ursula Sedlak, Principal Sam Kurtz, and Assistant Principal Betty Holzkopf warmly welcomed and congratulated the students, with special guests and staff members who are on the PAEE committee: Sarah Arends, Robyn Kogan, Robin Dombeck, Renee Yoo, and Nancy Lifshitz. Director of Educational Technology, Dr. Andrew Kohl was also present and recorded the virtual assembly.
Maple’s “fabulous” orchestra with Director Renee Yoo, performed at the beginning and culmination of the ceremony. Featured pieces included, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” J.S. Smith/arr. C.B. Caputo, “O, America,” B. Graham, and W. Joseph/arr. J. Kazik (Alison Chung, violin solo).
Principal Sam Kurtz stated that he was extremely proud of the Maple Mustangs who qualified for this award.
“Congratulations! You have committed and achieved educational excellence, and shown that you are hard-working and diligent young people with a great work ethic. These qualities will serve you well during your high school years and beyond!” he said.
Superintendent Dr. Brian Wegley then thanked the Maple principals for their excellent leadership and the Board of Education and President Ursula Sedlak for their wonderful support and leadership.
He also expressed gratitude to the impressive student speakers who were present: Glenbrook North High School (GBN) senior and Maple School alumnus Peter Bazianos, and eighth-graders Chloe Zhu and Aaron Lee.
“We celebrate your amazing accomplishment tonight, and for persevering through this challenging year with such class and resilience. You are all most deserving of this recognition. I also want to thank your parents for their civility and am ever grateful for their example of how to handle adversity. You all should be proud! You are all incredible young people and give us all hope for the future. The attributes you celebrate now will serve you well into your future. I am proud to be your superintendent and celebrate your outstanding work and achievements. We applaud all of you!” said Dr. Wegley.
He introduced President Ursula Sedlak, who retires from Northbrook/Glenview School District 30’s Board of Education on April 29.
"We also honor Ms. Sedlak on the eve of her retirement from our Board, and sincerely thank her for her service, dedication, warmth, and care throughout the years. She is your biggest advocate.”
She thanked the administration, teachers, and staff for their commitment and dedication to our students this year and applauded the parents for their ongoing support. She told the students to be sure to thank their teachers for all that they do every day, especially during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7.
Assistant Principal Betty Holzkopf spoke to the audience and reminded everyone, "We believe that educating children in District 30 is a team effort, which commits us to continue the PAEE’s theme "I Couldn't Do It Alone."
Eighth-grade math teacher Sarah Arends then introduced GBN senior and Maple alum Peter Bazianos, who spoke to his classmates four years ago on Maple’s stage. He emphasized that many great memories have come back to him about his years at Maple School and said that he truly could not have succeeded alone. He credited the support of family, teachers, and friends for helping him along the way.
“At GBN, I see that my Maple colleagues are the most prepared for high school, and it is because of the unwavering support of teachers, family, and colleagues. You can find support in any environment, and if you work with one another, it will be the building block of what you will someday become. I can’t wait to see how your futures will unfold! Congratulations!” he added.
Eighth-graders Chloe Zhu and Aaron Lee also spoke to their class, each emphasizing in her/his own way that it was the support of their families, teachers, and fellow students that “lit the fire” that led them down the right path to educational and personal achievement. They expressed their gratitude, and sincerely wished their fellow students luck and success in high school.
“There is great strength in the Mustang herd. Our schools could not succeed without community support and caring, which is especially significant during this pandemic year. On behalf of all of the staff, I want to recognize our exceptional administration and Board for their planning before and during this school year. They have kept everyone safe while educational excellence was maintained.
Our teachers and support staff are also amazing in every way, as they have been committed dedicated, determined, and strong. Thank you for your daily efforts in guiding our children’s growing minds, and maintaining the District 30 motto, ‘Our children are our greatest resource.’ Appreciate the people who are with you every day. We look forward to many more celebrations to come,” concluded Mr. Kurtz.
President’s Award for Educational Excellence 2021 Awardees
Sophia Abrahams, Gabrielle Ackerman, Tracy Agan, Joslyn Amann, Julia Bazianos, Aadit Bhatia, Joe Biju, Ava Carr, Alexander Chae, Marissa Chi, Jaden Cho, Jaymin Choi, Brooke Cohen, Lucas Cohen, Brendan Contreras, Megan Dunbar, Camille Dziewonska, Adrian Elliott, Allison Endres, Shiri Epstein, Michael Falk, Samantha Field, Aiden Fladeland, Viktoria Gavrilyuk, Nathan Gillen, Ricky Gu, Madison R, Gutierrez, Andrew Haritos, Mia Hermann, Kaylee Hwang, Rino Ishimori, Daniel Joseph, Alexander Kain, David Kang, Harper Kaplan, Paige Karchmar, Samantha Katz, Cailyn Kelsen, Lucas King, Julia Kostoglanis, Roan Layland, Aaron Lee, Elysia Lee, Joyce Lee, Emily Lien, David Lipkind, Alicja Mastej, Sahithi Medikondia, Shradha Mehrotra, Ava Meltser, Emily Mendiola, Nikhil Mitra, Kacie Moon, Atchaya Muthupalaniappan, Kai Nakamura, Isaiah Paek, Anthony Park, Ethan Park, Grant Park, Hannah Pinarkyil, Ethan Regirer, Nicole Rogoff, Teny Sarrafian, Carson Schimel, Emma Schneider, Ari Schyman, Alexa Shmarak, Adam Sokol, Daniel J. Song, Benjamin Sorkin, Brady Spiggos, Aaron St. John, Yael Toubes, Elena Traskina, Conner Tsui, Alexis Webb, Ryan Weil, Ennette Weinstein, Kristelle Widjaja, Jakub Wiktorowski, Hannah Yoon, Audrey Yu, Rebecca Zhang, Chloe Zhu, and Kristin Zick.