ISBE names 15 outstanding students to Student Advisory Council

High school students to study impact of physical education on students and school budgets 


Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced that 15 outstanding high school students from across Illinois have been selected to represent their peers on the ISBE Student Advisory Council for 2010-2011. The new council will help lead a study on physical education for high school districts and the impact on school district budgets.

 “The students who serve on the Student Advisory Council are among the best and the brightest in Illinois ,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Their experience and insight provides our Board with an invaluable perspective while the students’ work on the council hones valuable skills for success beyond high school.’’

The Student Advisory Council was originally formed in 1975 to bring student concerns to the attention of ISBE. The students who comprise the Student Advisory Council are diverse, representing different parts of the state, types of school settings and ethnic backgrounds. But they also share similar qualities, from a strong work ethic to the ability to think creatively and work well in groups.

As SAC members, the students also may review and critique ISBE’s  existing or proposed programs, policies and regulations, as well as inform Illinois students of SAC activities.

For the 2010-11 school year, six students are returning to the Student Advisory Council, and nine new students were selected through a competitive application and review process. Eligibility for SAC is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors attending a public high school in Illinois .

 The nine new members of the Student Advisory Council are:

Conor Reilley, sophomore, Belvidere North High School in Belvidere

Conor was elected president of his class this year. He is also on the scholastic bowl and science olympiad teams, on the football and basketball teams, the newspaper, and plans on joining the school’s improv team, Improv Anonymous.  He also serves as treasurer on the North Central District of Student Councils, one of 13 districts in the Illinois Association of Student Councils.  He is the 15-year-old son of Shawn and Kerry Reilley of Belvidere .

Maryann Thompson, junior, Barrington High School in Barrington

Maryann is a member of the Student Council, the Advisory Council, Reality Council, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and Model UN and Amnesty International clubs at her school. She also sings in the choir, plays lacrosse, runs cross country and acts as a peer mentor.  In the community, Maryann is involved in the Junior Auxiliary Board to Good Shepherd Hospital , Peer Jury and Barrington Drug Prevention Youth Advisory Council.  She hopes to become a lawyer. Maryann, 17, is the daughter of Marty and Henry Thompson of Tower Lakes .

Michael Rice, senior, Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville

Mike is a three-sport varsity athlete, participating in cross country, basketball and track.  During his senior year, Mike will serve on the Executive Board for National Honor Society and participate in Beta Club. He previously served as a Peer Tutor for Dundee-Crown and attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security in Washington , D.C.   Outside of school, Mike is working on his Eagle Scout project and works as a lifeguard at the local pool. After graduation, Mike plans to get an undergraduate degree in business and then move on to law school. Mike is the 17-year-old son of Bill and Laura Rice of Sleepy Hollow.

Maisie Mahoney, junior, Oregon High School in Oregon

Maisie is a three-sport athlete as well as an active member of her community. She participates in volleyball, basketball, and track where she has competed in the State Finals for the past two years. Maisie is also actively involved in other school organizations, including the Superintendent Student Advisory Council, the math team, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the school play and the school broadcasting team. Outside of school, she is a violinist for the Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra and spends time volunteering for community events such as the annual Rock River Sweep, the Special Olympics, and those sponsored by her church. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a degree in either engineering or psychology. Maisie, 16, is the daughter of Tom and Angela Mahoney of Oregon .

Catherine Hixson, senior, Monticello High School in Monticello

Catherine has been involved in many school activities, including Student Council; Future Educators of America, Thespians, Madrigals; Class Officer, French Club, Jazz, Chamber, and Concert Choirs, and National Honor Society.  Last year, Catherine secured a $1,000 grant through the NEA for Youth Leaders for Literacy. The grant proposal created a bookmobile offering free books to all Monticello elementary students. After graduation, Catherine plans to major in business and medicine with the goal of becoming a health administrator. Catherine is the 17-year-old daughter of Dean and April Hixson of Monticello .

Abhinav Brahmamdam, junior, Springfield High School in Springfield

During his freshman and sophomore years, Abhinav played basketball and football representing Springfield High School . In the 2007 school year, his team won the seventh-grade Basketball State Championship. He represents his class on Student Council and is the Vice President of the Class of 2012. He is a member of Spanish Club and Math Club. He plans to participate in National Honors Society. In addition, he also volunteers in non-profit and charitable organizations. He wants to become a medical doctor. Abhinav is the 16-year-old son of Krishna and Lakshmi Brahmamdam of Springfield .

Alexander Hinch, senior, Naperville Central High School in Naperville

This year at school, Alex will begin his second year as both president of the Wall Street Society, a club which invests real money in the stock market, and co-captain of the debate team. Additionally, this year he will begin as a member of his National Honor Society chapter’s Executive Board. Recently, he completed his Eagle Project, which donated more than 300 board games and video games to a not-for profit in Chicago . He has also volunteered on a number of political campaigns, interned in an official congressional office, served as the Senior Patrol Leader of his Boy Scout Troop, and won numerous regional and state awards through Business Professionals of America. In his free time, he enjoys playing violin at his church and a local hospital and playing tennis. Alex is the 17-year-old son of Mark and Tina Hinch of Naperville .

Myles Gearon, junior, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago

Myles participates in his school’s math team, technology department, school band, volleyball team and student ambassador program. Outside of school he volunteers in the Open Books literacy program and plays club volleyball. Myles, 16, is the son of Kyle and Pamela Gearon of Chicago .

Erin Martell, junior, Maine South High School in Park Ridge

Erin is a three-sport athlete, participating in soccer, basketball and volleyball. She is part of a school sponsored tutoring program, aimed to help improve student education. She also is an editor of her school newspaper, an honor student, finalist in an international writing contest, on her school’s advisory council, a hawk pride leader, club soccer player, P.E. leader, and has been captain of all three of her school teams. After graduation, Erin plans on majoring in environmental sciences with an undergrad in journalism, with the goal of writing for National Geographic.  Erin is the 17-year-old daughter of John and Maryellen Martell of Park Ridge .


Returning Members


Kelsea Battefeld, senior, Meredosia-Chambersburg High School in Meredosia

As a senior at MCHS, Kelsea was elected as this year’s class president and also serves as the yearbook editor. Kelsea is currently involved in FHA, Dance Team, Upward Bound, and is a part of the music department at her school. She is a current member of her school’s National Honor Society. She is also involved in her church’s youth group. Kelsea is the 17-year-old daughter of Brian and Jeannie Battefeld of Meredosia.

Peyton Bernot, senior, Gillespie High School in Gillespie

Payton has served as a member of the student council for seven consecutive years, the Vice President of his Senior class, and volunteers for the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation as a big brother at his school. He has volunteered on several political campaigns, volunteered for the American Red Cross, Community Unit School District 7, the Benld United Methodist Church and the Coal County Chamber of Commerce.  He works as an intern for Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton.  Peyton, 17, is the son of Jeff and Tammy Bernot of Benld.

Abigail Horan, senior, Rolling Meadows High School in Rolling Meadows

Abigail is involved in various school activities, including the swim team, musical theatre program, and her school’s freshman mentoring program. In addition, she holds leadership roles in her school’s speech team; spirit organization, “The Stampede”; TEAM tutoring program; service club, “Mustangs Committed to Service”; and serves as the senior class president. Outside of school, Abigail works closely with several non-profit organizations, including her own charity. One of her projects, the Double T Program, has donated more than 3,000 hygiene kits to the homeless and needy both locally and worldwide since its founding in 2004. Abigail is the 17-year-old daughter of Terry and Jill Horan of Arlington Heights.

Brittany Kendrick, senior, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago

Brittany participates on the girls’ varsity volleyball team and has been elected as the student representative on her local school council. She is active in the National FFA and belongs to the World Sport Chicago. Brittany plans to graduate in the top 10 percentile of her class, attend a university and major in business administration. She is the 18-year-old daughter of William and Matilda Kendrick of Chicago .

Daniel Lopez, senior, Mundelein High School in Mundelein

Daniel was recently named Vice President of the Mundelein After-School Coalition. This group helps middle school kids participate in events that are healthy and will help out the community. He is also a two year member of the National Honor Society. He is part of his school’s student council, as well as a recycling club. When not in school, he takes part in his local peer jury group, in which kids are helped to make good decisions and learn from their mistakes. Daniel is the 17-year-old son of Gloria and Cidifredo Lopez of Mundelein .

Julie Sauls, senior, Highland High School

Julie is the low brass section leader in band, Section 15 FFA Vice President, Chapter president, 4-H chair of activates, and is first chair symphonic band tuba player. She is also involved in Spanish Club, church choir, youth group, and holds a part time job at the Greenville Veterinary Clinic. She plans to attend  Kansas State University in the fall. Julie, 17, is the daughter of Mike and Carole Sauls of New Douglas.