Board honors Make A Difference award winners
Last updated 1/22/2020 at 3:10pm
The Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education recognized stellar students who excel in their clubs, and also recognized their inspiring sponsors. The Make A Difference Award winners for January represent the Latinx Club at Niles North and the DECA Club at Niles West.
Jatziry Ramos Jacobo is a sophomore who lives with her family of four. They immigrated to the United States from the Mexican state of Guadalajara. Her mother works in a hospital and her stepfather drives for DrivX.
"Jatziry has made a difference as a leader in Latinx club by building community with her peers who have similar journeys, toward the goal of making them feel welcomed and supported," said Niles North Principal James Edwards. "The club also allows her to continue to feel connected to her Mexican culture and traditions. Furthermore, the club symbolizes a sense of unity because all club members know that they are there to help each other. Last year, Jatziry also made a difference by helping to organize a mural painting activity with local artist Victor Montanez that helped the school community understand the rich history and traditions of Latinx culture."
According to Jatziry, her work in Latinx club "is more than just a simple club, it is a place where we can all get together and make extraordinary things happen."
Jatziry's future goal is to pursue a career as a law enforcement official.
Maya Rios is a senior and is proud to identify as a Tejana. She lives with her mother, brother and grandmother in Skokie. Latinx club was the first club Maya joined at Niles North, and she quickly found her peers to be a second family to her. Her leadership in the club created a supportive environment where "we could eat, talk about issues that impact Latinx members and prepare for presentations at diversity night and pep assemblies," she says. Maya says she "is so proud to be part of such an amazing club" and feels honored to be able to call herself a leader in this club.
According to Edwards, "Like Jatziry, Maya was instrumental in creating the mural project last year that brought so many people together to make an everlasting cultural impact on Niles North. Maya plans to attend Oakton (Community College) next year and her career goal is to become a private investigator."
Both students expressed their gratitude to the club's two sponsors, Spanish teacher Alejandra Arteaga and Mathematics teachers Cecilia Serrano, for supporting them and challenging them to step up as leaders.
Serrano told Board members that it has been gratifying "to watch both these young women grow into such powerful female leaders in our community."
Arteaga noted that Jatziry and Maya made a significant and lasting contribution to Niles North through their leadership on the mural project. "We make it a point in the club to think about what we can do to educate ourselves so we can share more about our culture with the rest of our school."