Niles West Distinguished Alumni

Niles West Distinguished Alumnus Award 2020-2021 Nomination

Niles West High School is seeking nominations for the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Nominations shall include supporting documentation about the nominee such as achievements in their field, significant contributions to their community and their association with Niles West.

The Award recipient must attend the Niles West Accolades Ceremony (Virtual or In-Person TBD).

Selection Process:

  1. Achievement in his/her field
  2. Contribution to society
  3. Candidate must have attended a District 219 School for at least 3 years and must have graduated from Niles West.
  4. Appreciation/Influence of Niles West on accomplishments

Please complete the online form:

Niles West Distinguished Alumnus Award 2020-2021 Nomination Form

We will be accepting nominations until February 19, 2021.

* * Distinguished Alum 2021 * *
Amin Lakhani, Niles West Class of 2007

Amin Lakhani is this year’s Niles West Dis-tinguished Alumnus. He was nominated by his former teacher Celeste Smith.
He was born with muscular dystrophy, specifically Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome.
Ms. Smith said, “When I met Amin, he was confined to a wheelchair and had no fine motor skills. He was a very depressed and angry young man. He stated that while going to Niles West he felt vastly different due to his disability, but also felt accepted by the student population. Niles West helped Amin develop cognitive skills as well as strategies to help make him the success he is. Niles West made education very accessible to him with all the accommodations he received. He ranked number 2 in his graduating class of 700. After his high school graduation he did some serious soul searching and narrowed down the options he wanted to pursue.”
Amin was accepted to Wharton College in Pennsylvania in a very elite program; only nine percent of the students that apply to this program are accepted. He graduated with a degree in Media and Computer Science. During his internship with Google, he worked on, and helped develop, Google Maps. He also interned at Microsoft where he worked on Windows 8. After graduation, he was hired by Microsoft and worked in Seattle.
Amin is currently back in the area doing comedy. This helps him retain a sense of connection to who he is. He also goes to comedy clubs with Open Mic forums, where he meets people and builds a sense of community with the people he connects with. Amin would like a chance to tell his story to people and how he has overcome adversity, as well as learning to deal with obstacles in his life. He wants to talk to other students with disabilities to show them that if they want to achieve their dream they can.
Amin has a documentary on You Tube called Funny and Fearless: Amin Lakhani (Episode 1). He has a website called Amin Lakhani: The Dating Coach on Wheels.

“But I have found solace through comedy,
which I now use as a conduit to share my
life, and the lessons I have learned – dating and beyond.”

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 2010 to Present
2020 – Megan Goldish, ’89
2019 – Brett Kopf, ’05
2018 – Marcy Lerner Steindler, ’77
2017 – Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, ’63
2016 – Judge Merrick Garland ’70
2016 – Dr. Robert A. Ganz, ‘72

2015 – Rich Beckman, ’72
2014 – Tom ’86 and Dita, ’86 (Jusufi) Merkel
2013 – Howard Sandroff, ’67
2012 – Dennis Hu, ’07
2011 – Judy Hsu, ’88
2010 – Dr. Steven Dayan, ’85