By Peggy Herrington
Lake View High School served as the venue for this year’s “An Evening with Lake View and Amundsen” high school showcase on March 28, welcoming around 200 prospective students and parents representing at least 19 different local elementary schools, including the GROW elementary schools. “It was great to see so many families and neighbors coming out to find out more about their neighborhood high schools,” said Lake View principal Paul J. Karafiol.
The evening opened with a panel of six Lake View and Amundsen students discussing their favorite classes, clubs, and advice for middle school families.
What advice would you give to middle school parents who are starting the high school selection process?
Ophelia Rosales, senior, Lake View: “Don’t stress. Everyone ends up where they are supposed to be. High school is what you make it.”
Oswaldo Ramirez, sophomore, Amundsen: “Always support your child throughout the high school process. This is a big chapter in their life.”
Edwin Quito, senior, Amundsen: “In high school you meet students from different ethnicities, and it helps you learn we are all pretty much the same. You can make good friends here, who you’ll have for the rest of your life.”
What advice would you give to students who will be starting their freshman year this fall?
Rigel Almanza, senior, Lake View: “I decided to challenge myself and take all honors classes my freshman year. My advice: Get to know your teachers. Make time to talk with them; they’re really cool.”
Nicole Dano, junior, Amundsen: “I chose all IB classes my freshman year, which was challenging, so my advice is about time management. You need to be balanced, put aside time for homework, put aside time for sports, and you need to use your agenda.”
Sarai Marban, senior, Lake View: “Freshman year is the prime time to join clubs and take classes that interest you. Your schedule will get busier junior year with SAT prep, and senior year with college planning.”
What is your “best of” in high school?
Nicole Dano, junior, Amundsen: “A couple friends and I started a Dyson Engineering Club, which I love. We’ve had fun learning how to do various things like taking apart and rebuilding vacuums. We’ve enjoyed Dyson Engineering Club so much that we talked our teachers into making it an actual class! I’m really looking forward to taking this new IB career class next year, covering design and engineering.” (Amundsen recently received a generous $150,000 grant from one of its school partners, Dyson, a British technology company that designs and manufactures household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, heaters, and hair dryers.)
Edwin Quito, senior, Amundsen: “My favorite class teaches game development and app design. We’ve learned about internship opportunities for computer science and coding. This experience will look good on our high school transcripts.”
Oswaldo Ramirez, sophomore, Amundsen: “My favorite class is Advanced Band. I took flute for two years, and really enjoyed it. I wasn’t involved in music at all before this class, now I love it.”
Ophelia Rosales, senior, Lake View: “There are so many things I love here at Lake View. My best thing is International Club. I started Spanish Club because our Hispanic population is very large at Lake View. We do fundraisers and we are working on a mural. We recently changed the name to International Club, because we want all students to feel like they’re involved in what we do.”
Sarai Marban, senior, Lake View: “We have so many support programs at Lake View. I really like College Possible, an afterschool program in the College and Career Lab that helps with things like SAT prep and transitioning to college.”
Rigel Almanza, senior, Lake View: “My favorite class is AP Psychology. It’s everything about the brain! I may want to major in Psychology in college.”
What are you looking forward to next year?
Oswaldo Ramirez, sophomore, Amundsen: “I’m looking forward to starting the IB Diploma program next year, which is full IB. Courses will become more rigorous. I’ll be taking math labs, theory of knowledge (TOK) courses, and civics. Courses that will go toward college credits.”
Edwin Quito, senior, Amundsen: “I’ve enjoyed when speakers have visited our school to explain options for what I can do after high school graduation. I’m excited to start boot camp next year.”
After the panel presentation, middle school families strolled through Lake View’s hallways and engaged with Lake View and Amundsen students, teachers, and parent volunteers. From art exhibits and college/career planning tables, to Innovation Academy and JROTC representatives, the event featured something for everyone. Principals from both schools were also in attendance, mingling with the crowd. “We are always happy to have an opportunity to meet with parents and students, and to engage in a dialogue about our schools. I love hearing their questions because it lets me know what is important to our future parents and students, giving us a chance to try to make those things happen,” said Amundsen principal Anna Pavichevich.
“My favorite part of the high school fair was listening to what the students had to say,” said Angelina Sarcona, a 7th grader from Blaine Elementary. “They all seemed very proud of the school they attended.” Angelina’s mom, Oralia, is impressed at how these neighborhood schools are growing. “The programs they offer are amazing, such as IB at Amundsen and Makers Lab at Lake View. These schools were not an option for me when I grew up in the neighborhood, but I’m happy they’re an option for my children.”
Maria Bovee, mother of 6th grade Nettelhorst Elementary student Byron, explained that she is searching for the best fit for her son and heard great things about the science program at Lake View: “We like that everyone takes computer science and math as part of the STEM program here. Mathematics is very important to our family. We’re also happy to hear about the Lake View math teacher who recently won an award.” Bovee is referring to Lake View High School math teacher Erin Unander, one of 10 Illinois teachers who recently won the prestigious Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching and leadership.
Another parent, Brigit Bielawski, added, “I was impressed with the opportunities that both schools offer. I have faith that if my son chooses either of these schools, he will flourish.” Her son, Tyler, is a Blaine 7th grader who plans to play soccer in high school and was excited to hear Lake View has a competitive, passionate soccer team.
Nettelhorst mom Carol Stoker was happy she attended the open house. “It gave me a chance to tour Lake View and see recent capital improvements like the new gym, floors, and lockers. I also met a couple Lake View parents and gained some insight from them,” explained Stoker. “I was impressed with the number and variety of activities available—everything from band to sports to robotics, and more.”
Peggy Herrington is a writer, community volunteer, LSC chair at Lake View High School, wife, and mother of three living in the Lakeview neighborhood. Peggy enjoys traveling and following the Cubs.