Gold Medal Award - Ilhana Kisija

North Artist Ilhana Kisija Wins National Gold Medal Award and Scholarship Award


Gold Medal Award - Ilhana Kisija

Congratulations to Niles North’s Ilhana Kisija, the NATIONAL GOLD medal Scholastic Art Recipient & Winner of the New York Life Scholarship Award 

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, is pleased to present Ilhana Kisija with a National Gold Medal Award for her piece titled “Past Ways Say Stay”. 

More than 80,000 students submitted nearly 230,000 works of art and writing to the 2020 Scholastic Awards. Ilhana Kisija’s work was selected by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts for excellence in originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Only 2,000 works received a National Medal, which places Ilhana Kisija within the top 1% of all submissions!

Additionally, Ilhana’s “Past Ways Say Stay” was ALSO awarded the New York Life Scholarship Award 

The New York Life Award elevates the voice of bereaved teens and creates healing conversations around grief. It recognizes six students whose works explore grief, loss, and bereavement. The student’s submission and brief statement were evaluated by a panel of distinguished educators, creative luminaries, and industry professionals.

Latinx Mural at North

New Latinx Mural Debuts

Latinx Mural at North

The Latinx Club is so very proud of our mural. The students named it “La luz en Medio de la Oscuridad” (The Light in the Middle of the Darkness).  This project was a collaboration between 22 Niles North Latinx students, five Niles North staff members and Victor Montañez (a professional muralist).  We all worked remotely on individual 11X14” canvas pieces to create a 5.5X7 ft. (approximately) mural. It took the club five months to accomplish what is now hanging in the hallway, and it continues to be a work in progress. Students will hide dedications in the roots of the Catrina’s dress. The Catrina (Death in an elegant dress) is the protagonist of the mural because it summarizes the year we’ve all had in 2020-21:  loss. In isolation and wearing a mask, Death doesn’t discriminate. The students also included more subtle messages like the fist on the face mask to support the Black Lives Matter movement and hidden faces/shapes all over the mural. A side piece with the signatures of the participating artists will be added.

Students:   Jatziry Ramos, Sarah Cardenas, Ireida Garcia, Karina Haro, Brenda Reyes, Aaron Garcia, Mariana Del Carpio, Vanessa Martin, Ashley Barrera, Danae Barrera, Andrea Meoño, Deisy Hinojosa, Alexa Agrelo, Sofia Olivares, Celeste Ramirez, Regina Saucedo, Michelle Zamora, Miriam Martinez, Heena Ansari, Paula Posadas, Emily Jaimes and Lizbeth Jaimes. 

Staff:   Alejandra Arteaga, Cecilia Serrano, La Joyce Morales, Monica Saucedo and Daisy Castillo.

D219 Default Announcement logo

D219 Statement Re. Asian Hate Crimes 3.17.21

This letter is being sent to D219 families in response to the hate crimes in Georgia yesterday.

Dear Members of our District 219 School Community, 

Our Asian community has seen and experienced an increase in hate crimes since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last night, an incident occurred in which eight people were killed in Georgia. According to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, diplomats in Atlanta have confirmed that four of the eight people were women of Korean descent. Six were women of Asian descent.  While investigations are ongoing, this act of unspeakable violence is being categorized as a hate crime. 

Hate has no home in District 219. We fully denounce any type of violence in our community and our extended community. Our hearts go out to all the victims’ families and friends of yesterday’s violence. Our district is a global village and we have students from all over the world. Right now, our Asian community and our students are grieving and hurt by the most recent hate crime in Georgia. When an incident like this occurs, the trauma is felt throughout the country, especially in schools. It is our responsibility as a community to come together and heal. 

Our district is committed to being anti-racist. This means that we need to act through our systems and structures to show our support. We will ensure that our students have the opportunity to process the trauma in a safe environment with licensed professionals. We will have multiple avenues: affinity spaces, counseling support and adult connections throughout our schools — teachers, deans, staff, coaches, directors and more.

Any student who needs support should contact their counselor. Students can schedule a meeting with their counselor, whether the meeting takes place in person or remotely.

Every adult in our building has a connection to students and this is when we can heal through the power of community. Furthermore, we will ensure that our faculty and staff who are impacted by the trauma also have the space and support to process the most recent hate crimes. 

The stress of a pandemic is already a significant burden, but now we also have to deal with unspeakable hate yet again. As the late John Lewis aptly characterized:  “We are one people with one family. We all live in the same house… and through books, through information, we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.”

As a district, it is our moral imperative to: 1) keep our students and staff safe; 2) educate our students; and 3) graduate them into a world knowing the difference between right and wrong. 

Hate has no home in District 219. 


Dr. Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools

Dr.Karen Ritter
Niles West Principal

Dr. James Edwards
Niles North Principal

North Business Logo

Niles North DECA Achieves #NextLevel Honors at Conference

The Niles North High School DECA chapter competed in the Virtual IL-Career Development Conference throughout the months of January and February.  The Grand Awards Ceremony was broadcast virtually on March 6, 2021.  Over 1,500 students competed this year, which makes it the largest competitive conference in Illinois DECA history.  DECA attracts individuals to productive careers in entrepreneurship, marketing, management, hospitality, finance, business administration, and sales and merchandising.  There are over 3,700 members in Illinois DECA.  

This year’s national campaign of DECA “#NextLevel” was exactly what this conference has been for the Niles North DECA Chapter!  Even though Niles North had been remote during the entire competitive season, 35 students took their learning to the #NextLevel by competing in either various interactive role play or written project events.  These students are truly exceptional and should be congratulated on a successful competitive season.

Of the 35 competitors, 32 earned Top 10 Medals, 17 earned a bid to DECA International Career Development Conference, 6 are State Champions, and 2 earned Individual IFME Scholarships/Awards.  In addition to this, 19 seniors were selected as IFME Honor Award recipients, the most of any chapter in the State of Illinois.  The number of ICDC qualifiers is a school record for Niles North DECA and we couldn’t be prouder of these students for achieving so much by overcoming so many obstacles!  

Niles North DECA has served as a co-curricular organization which serves students as an integral part of the classroom instructional program in the Business Education Department for the past 43 years.  Niles North DECA chapter activities contribute substantially to the primary purpose of school to develop well-educated citizens who have self-confidence, self-esteem, leadership ability, and an understanding of the American Free Enterprise System. Niles North DECA is sponsored by Jean Attig, Kara Mielke, and Nick Pahl.

Niles North DECA would like to thank the D219 Board of Education, Dr. Steven Isoye (D219 Superintendent), Dr. James Edwards (NNHS Principal), Mr. Chris Powell (ECSB Director), Ms. Alyssa Bednarz (ECSB Administrative Assistant), Mrs. Lisa Edelson (Education to Careers Coordinator), and the many D219 administration/faculty/staff for their continued support of this program.  

Here are the highlights of this year’s accomplishments by the Niles North DECA Chapter:

  • The Niles North DECA Chapter earned THREE Chapter Awards at the conference
    • Community Service Campaign — THRIVE LEVEL (only 3 in the state)
    • Promotional Campaign — THRIVE LEVEL (only 3 in the state)
    • IConnect Gold Status — Alicia Fabella and Hafsa Feroz (Coordinators)
  • Romesa Amiwala recognized as an IFME $1,000 Scholarship Winner
  • Kamran Khan recognized as the IFME Frank Vignola Award Winner

The following students are International Career Development Conference qualifiers:

Romesa Amiwala, Project Management Career Development, First Place; Kamran Khan, Project Management Career Development, First Place; Hassam Uddin, Project management Career Development, First Place; Alicia Fabella, Project Management Business Solutions, First Place; Manu Deva, Project Management Business Solutions, First Place; Simran Mithani, Project Management Sales Project, First Place; Bushra Ahmed, Project Management Financial Literacy, Third Place; Hafsa Feroz, Project Management Financial Literacy, Third Place; Sutton Schwartz, Project Management Financial Literacy, Third Place; Ayan Das, Business Services Operations Research, Third Place; Marija Planinic, Business Services Operations Research, Third Place; Yash Sharma, Business Services Operations Research Third Place; Ethan Burstin, Independent Business Plan, Third Place; Malav Patel, Independent Business Plan, Third Place; Steven Reed, Independent Business Plan, Third Place; Lindsey Saxe, Hotel and Lodging Management, Third Place; and Meera Sahrawat, Principles of Finance, Fourth Place.

Top Ten Finishers:  Noora Mekhaeel, Apparel and Accessories Marketing Series, Nosheen Ahmed, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making, Prachi Patel, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making, Mohammad Makda, Entrepreneurship Series, Samuel Abraham, Financial Services Team Decision making, Gabe Vargas, Financial Services Team Decision Making, Zaina Anarwala, Innovation Plan, Misha Gandhi, Innovation Plan, Rachel Jacob, Innovation Plan, Aamir Abjani, International Business Plan, Dane Nitoi, International Business Plan, Isar Saxena, International Business Plan, Farah Tawfik, Principles of Marketing, Aby James, Start-Up Business Plan Event and Julia Rivera, Start-Up Business Plan Event.

Excellence/Competency-Based Honors:  Nosheen Ahmed, Cluster Test and Role Play; Mohammad Makda, Role Play; Salman Mehdi, Role Play; Noora Mekhaeel, Role Play; Prachi Patel, Role Play; Meera Sahrawat, Cluster Test and Role Play; Lindsey Saxe, Cluster Test and Role Play; and Farah Tafik, Role Play.

D219 Default Announcement logo

D219 Board Approves Three-Year Rollover of Collective Bargaining Agreement with Union

The Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education at its February 23 meeting approved a three-year rollover of the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the Niles Township Federation of Teachers and Support Staff (NTFTSS), Local 1274. The rollover was ratified by the NTFTSS membership earlier this school year.

The rollover will keep in place almost all of the terms of the existing contract, which expires on June 30, 2021. The rollover contract will thus be in effect for the 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

The union and district agreed to new contract terms that include:

  • For teachers and certified staff, 2.75% new money for each of the three years.

  • Each support staff member will receive a raise of 2.75% each of the three years.

  • The salary schedule cell used to determine stipends, summer work and other extras will be moved from MA-5 to MA45-3.

    “The Board of Education is glad that we have been able to work so collaboratively with our Union to agree on this rollover,” said D219 Board President David Ko. “At a time of so much stress and so many challenges in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, it is a relief to know that we at least will have certainty in our working and learning environment thanks to ongoing stable working conditions.”

John Bias page in BHM illustrated book

Black History Month: Illustrations of Black Faculty and Staff

Niles North High School has continued its yearly tradition of honoring Black Faculty and Staff through art. This year’s vision was to compile a Portrait Illustration Book despite the many restrictions of the  remote learning environment. Please follow the link below to flip through the virtual pages! Each spread of the book features a staff or faculty member on the left side and a message or quote of their choice on the right side.  
These portraits were illustrated by Student, Alumni, and Staff Artists by incorporating their own artmaking styles with the energy of the chosen quotes into the final portraits. 
Thank you to everyone involved in this collaboration and we hope you enjoy the following works of art.

Equations graphic

North Students Continue in International Math Competition

Two teams from Niles North will be represented in the second round of the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM) for the second year in a row. Students will be competing for a chance to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge (IM2C) later this spring. HiMCM is a math competition where students from across the United States and around the world work in teams of 4 to select, research, construct, and represent a mathematical model to solve a real-world problem. 

A total of 779 teams competed in November 2020, and papers were udged into one of five categories: Outstanding (top 1%), Finalist (top 8%), Meritorious (top 20%), Honorable Mention (top 50%) and Successful Participant.

Each team selected a problem they would address, and then worked for up to two weeks to write a 20-page paper describing their mathematical model and results. Both North teams chose the following problem: Problem A      Problem: The Best Summer Job

Although it’s only November, you need to start planning for your 2021 summer job. You have a variety of choices this year and want to determine your “best” choice. You pose this problem for your team of math friends:

We have many opportunities for a summer job. Some allow us to work from home virtually/electronically, some are a walk or bike ride away, and others require us to drive or take a train. Each job offers differing numbers of hours each week and the hourly rates also vary. Some involve physical activity, or at least not sitting at a desk (e.g. cashier at a store, lifeguarding, or wait staff at a restaurant), while others are mostly sedentary and perhaps use analytical and organizational skills (e.g. data analysis, office administration, or research).

Let’s develop a model that will evaluate the choices we have for our summer jobs and help us all find the “best” job. While we certainly want to earn and save some money, we also want to have time for recreation activities (e.g. exercise, outings, and social time with friends). Let’s make our model one that will be helpful for all high school students to think about and analyze their summer job options.

The team of Maddie Burroughs, Lisa Duan, Kalliope Kobotis and Ana Vuckovic earned Finalist and will advance to IM2C this spring. 

The team of Dominick Bogdan, Kyle Kenmotsu, Liam Perrault and Hassam Uddin earned Meritorious and they also will advance to IM2C.

Future Vikings

Future Vikings Art Show

Future VikingsYou recently saw releases for our immensely talented art students. Did you know that North has an annual Future Vikings Art Show with the sender schools? This year, junior high art teachers put together videos celebrating their students and programs. Please take a look to see the work of future students whose creations will grace our buildings, and perhaps, galleries and museums.

Bill MacBeth from McCracken:

Dana Wade-Kuzwayo from East Prairie:

Those Who Make a Difference

Those Who Make A Difference Award Winners



Niles West sophomore Emmanuella Anyanwoke, Niles West Physical Welfare Director Omar Alebiosu and Niles North freshman Corban (CJ) Hood-Webb were in the spotlight February 9, when the Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education honored them with its Those Who Make A Difference Award.

  Emmanuella West student

Niles West Principal Karen Ritter recognized Anyanwoke and Alebiosu for organizing D219’s first-ever Black Teen Summit, which will be held on February 24 as a culmination to the district’s celebration of Black History Month. 

“Emmanuella came to Niles West two 2 years ago from Nigeria to our EL (English Learners) program,” Ritter said. “She is modest and reserved, and when I asked her about her involvement in planning the Black Teen Summit, she said, ‘Oh, you know, I attended some meetings and gave some ideas,’ but when I talked to Omar Alebiosu, he said she is an amazing student who provides valuable insight into the Black teen experience, and when Emmanuella talks, people listen.”

“Emmanuella received the Niles West Principal’s Recognition Award last year. She considers herself an introvert, and she thanks her teachers, Ms. (Science teacher Poonam) Patel and Ms. (ELL teacher Jennifer) Meyer for helping her break out of her shell, and we are so glad she did. We are seeing the magnificent contributions that Emmanuella has already made at Niles West and we are excited to see what she will continue to do. When I asked Emmanuella what she was looking forward to most at the Black Teen Summit, she said she is most excited to see the event’s keynote speaker, none other than our very own Ms. April Stallworth! Because we all know when April talks, people listen!”

(April Stallworth is Executive Assistant to Superintendent Steven Isoye and Recording Secretary for the Board of Education.)

Niles West Director

“Another key person in organizing the inaugural Black Teen Summit at D219 is Physical Welfare Director, Mr. Omar Alebiosu,” Ritter said. “Omar, too, is very modest about the work he’s done, and he wanted to point out all of the help and support he received from his colleagues in the district who helped put this event together, like Carl Alexander, Deitrick Mitchell, Jason Stanford, Dillin Randolph, Larry English, Steve Parnther, Justin Johnson, Anita Baker, Carla Green, April Stallworth, Oyin Idowu, Adebola Adeniyi, Katie Odell, Caroline Benjamin, and Kia Pickett. 

“This planning committee made up of teachers, staff, administrators, and students like Emmanuella have been meeting, planning, sharing ideas, and collaborating to bring this event to life this year,” Ritter said. “There is such diversity within the Black community, and this is a day to celebrate those who identify as Black, African-American, Afro-Carribean, and Afro-Latino and for them to come together in unity and community. Planning any community event is a huge undertaking, and to do this remotely is even more challenging. Thank you to everyone involved in the planning of this event. 

“Emmanuella and Mr. Alebiosu have the same objective for the Black Teen Summit, which is to organize an event that will make our Black community feel welcomed, feel uplifted, and feel celebrated. While this will be a day of celebration, the uplifting and supporting of our Black community should not happen only on that day and should not happen only within the Black community,” Ritter said. “We all need to do a better job of lifting up and supporting our Black staff and students. Thank you Emanuella Anyanwoke and Omar Alebiosu for making a difference for so many in our D219 community. You are role models for all of us, and we can all follow your lead in supporting our D219 community.”

Niles North Principal James Edwards honored Corban (CJ) Hood-Webb for the leadership he has shown to his classmates during remote learning.


Edwards said CJ comes from a family “of very hard working people and although success is very important to them, genuineness and dedication is held above all. They push you to be yourself and to know who you are as an individual. His family is filled with lawyers, musicians, healthcare professionals, athletes, but overall genuine people that want to see their family members succeed.”

After high school, CJ aspires to be a Division 1 student-athlete majoring in Business/Real Estate and minoring in Economics or Applied Mathematics, Engineering or Physics, “in hopes of one day being in the NFL and MLB and having my degrees to fall back on after my career,” he says. “I also aspire to be a positive role model in my family, my community, and in the world.”

Besides his schoolwork, Edwards said, CJ keeps himself busy with sports. “He is currently practicing with his travel baseball team preparing for the 2021 season and will soon be doing the same for North football and baseball.” 

Social Studies teacher Aaron Minkus says, “In a world of little boxes filled with images of ceiling fans, kitchen cabinets and screens with only a first name on it, CJ is a ray of light. To be frank, I count on him for needed inspiration boosts during remote teaching. He throws himself into every class and brings nothing but happiness and energy. The world needs more people like CJ during these stressful times.”

English teacher Jason Mormolstein says, “CJ is an incredibly talented musician (seriously, ask him about his SoundCloud), and it was great having him share his creativity with our Digital Storytelling class. Corban was a reliably motivated, creative, and positive presence in our class.”

Spanish teacher Tom Neal says, “Corban has been a delight to work with this year!  He’s a conscientious, respectful young man who always strives to achieve his personal best.  ¡Felicidades y buen trabajo!” 

Physical Welfare teacher Mark Egofske says, “CJ shows up to class on time and ready to get after the workout that is on the horizon! CJ has great energy and is a positive force. He is a leader in our class and our go to’ when I need a student to demonstrate a new motor skill. Most importantly, CJ is a tremendous role model who makes us all work harder.” 

“CJ has shown consistent diligence and investment in his work in biology, where his energy and focus have positively influenced his learning groups (i.e. the breakout rooms), and contributing positively to the overall class learning” says Science teacher Tom Chung.

“Corban is a selfless, kind, and generous human,” says English teacher Amanda Hussain. “He is probably the student I have been able to get to know best during remote learning, and all due to his own actions.  To hear him talk about his family, his love for sports, how this year is going for him — you see insight and maturity that even most adults don’t have during this time. I wish there were a million more Corbans in the world, but the truth is, he is one of a kind!”

Edwards ended his tribute by saying, “And by the way, CJ is a freshman!”