Eight students from District 155 recently earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These programs celebrate students' hard work in high school and showcase their strong academic performance. The academic honors for rural area, Black, Indigenous, and/or Latino students are an opportunity for students to share their strong academic achievements with colleges and scholarship programs that are seeking to recruit diverse talent.
Students recognized from District 155 include:
Melody Alonso - Crystal Lake Central
Joshua Carrasco - Cary Grove
Isaiah Herrara - Cary Grove
Josh Marineau - Prairie Ridge
Christian Romero - Crystal Lake Central
Ryan Soli - Cary-Grove
Gwent Steeves - Cary-Grove
Vienna Tiria - Crystal Lake South
The criteria for eligible students include: a GPA of 3.5 or higher, PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10% of assessment takers in each state for each award program, or earned a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP Exams in 9th and 10th grade.
CLC senior Melody Alonso received a National Hispanic Recognition Award. Alonso is involved in band, choir, madrigal singers, and theatre. Outside of school, she is a member of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. She plans to pursue music performance in college.
“It's nice to have this recognition as something extra to put on my college resume,” she said.
CG senior Joshua Carrasco was also a National Hispanic Recognition Award winner. Carrasco is involved in concert band, marching band, and plays in the drum line. He is also active in Latino Leadership and robotics club. Outside of school, he enjoys drawing and design, playing piano and making music with friends. After graduation, he plans to study engineering.
“Being recognized by the college board makes me feel very proud of my achievements,” Carrasco said. “I am happy knowing that the work I put in is seen and it drives me to work harder to accomplish my goals.”
CG senior Isaiah Herrera was the recipient of a National Hispanic Recognition Award. Herrera is in the marching band and the tech crew, building sets and working behind the scenes for plays, musicals, and other performances.
“Outside of school I do karate, which I have done since I was little, so now I help teach classes,” Herrera said. “We teach everyone from little kids to adults and people with physical and mental disabilities.”
Herrera also enjoys studying politics and history. In the future, he plans to study political science or journalism.
“Being recognized by the College Board gives me some much needed confidence that my efforts here in high school have been worthwhile and not all in vain,” Herrara said.
PR junior Josh Marineau received a Rural and Small Town Award from the College Board. Marineau participates in National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Students. He is a member of the Prairie Ridge varsity soccer team and also participates in club soccer at a national level. Marineau also volunteers regularly at his church and in the community.
“I feel truly honored to be a part of a group of students that are known for their hard work and focus, dedicated to school,” he said. “Awards like these motivate me to keep going and pour my life into school and activities.”
CLC senior Christian Romero earned a National Hispanic Recognition Award. Romero is a member of the Tigers soccer team. He plans to attend an in-state college to pursue a career in a STEM field.
“Outside of school, I like to talk with friends, watch my favorite sports teams, and be with my dog,” Romero said. “Being recognized for this achievement has motivated me to work even harder because I know that I am capable of achieving my goals.”
CG senior Ryan Soli was recognized with a National Indigenous Award. Soli is part of the math team and a member of the National Honor Society at Cary-Grove. He is also a member of the Trojan lacrosse team.
“I really enjoy athletics and hanging out with people, but also love volunteering anytime I can,” he said.
Soli has not made a college choice yet, but is considering studying law or mathematics.
“It feels good to be recognized, but it feels better to just know all the hard work is paying off,” he said. “I'm always happy to just know I'm doing well, even if the whole world doesn't.
CG senior Gwen Steeves was a recipient of the Rural and Small Town Award. Steeves participates in musicals, plays, Swing Choir, Trojan Voices, A Capella Singers, CG Buddies, and NHS. She is also involved with the Cary-Grove Performing Arts Center outside of school, teaching boys jazz, assisting four swing choir classes and a jazz class, working in the dancewear store, running various studio events, and taking jazz and ballet classes.
Steeves has been accepted at Arizona State University and plans to double major in psychology and popular music, with a minor in dance.
CLS senior Vienna Tiria received a National Hispanic Recognition Award. Tiria is theatre president at Crystal Lake South and is a part of WiSTEM, Aevidum, and choir as well. Outside of school, she enjoys making art, playing piano, taking voice lessons, and creating music.
Tiria is still evaluating her options for college, but is currently thinking about studying graphic design and either minoring or double majoring in an area of music.
“Being recognized for this achievement is such an incredible honor,” Tiria said. “I'm proud to be latina and to be able to earn an award that recognizes me for that huge part of my identity as well as my academic successes. Earning this achievement also made me realize how much the closest people around me have influenced my journey. I think of my mom and dad who have always been pushing me to put forth my best effort in school and in all other aspects of life. Their encouragement gave me a strong work ethic and sense of motivation each day and I can never thank them enough for it.”