Montini Catholic recently congratulated two gifted seniors on being among the recipients of the 2020 Fermilab Science Award, recognizing outstanding accomplishments in science - Nora Sypkens and Heather Sledzinski. Every year, Fermilab Friends for Science Education (FFSE) underwrites an award program for exceptional and promising high school students from DuPage and Kane Counties. Their mission is to enhance the quality of pre-college science education in public and private schools, encourage young people to pursue careers in science and engineering and promote a broader public awareness and understanding of science. Nominated by school faculty, each awardee receives a certificate and a book. Both Nora and Heather received bestselling author Stephen Hawking's book, "Brief Answers to the Big Questions."
Both Nora and Heather are no stranger to the academic spotlight at Montini Catholic. They were each recently recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars as well as Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars.
Nora was the recipient of the Weisenburger Family Scholarship at Montini earlier this year, being selected for demonstrating outstanding leadership in the classroom as well as in extracurricular activities throughout her time as a Montini Bronco. She currently serves as the Vice President of Montini's Student Government - a role she takes quite seriously, dedicating numerous hours to assure her fellow classmates are engaged and involved in the Bronco experience - especially during these unprecedented times of Covid regulations and a hybrid mode of schooling. She is also proud to represent Montini Catholic to prospective students as a Student Ambassador. Academically, she is a member of the Math Team as well as the Spanish and Science Clubs. She is also a member of the Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) in addition to the National Honors Society. Spiritually, Nora spends her time as a member of the Peer Ministry Team (her second year) and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Athletically, Nora lends her skills to the Bronco Varsity Volleyball Team and even finds time to manage the Boys Varsity Volleyball team. And finally, Nora shares her passion for music as a member of the Montini Pep Band and President of the Tri-M (Music) Honor Society.
Nora is planning on attending the University of Kentucky next year with the hope of majoring in Chemistry with Spanish as either a minor or a double major. "Mrs. (Sandy) Deiber's Honors Biology class is what truly introduced me to the possibility of studying science," says Nora, when asked about a teacher who has had an impact on her during her time as a Bronco. "She has always pushed me to think critically and scientifically, and her efforts to challenge me have made me a better student."
Heather has not slowed down at all since first stepping onto Montini Catholic's campus as a freshman. She is enjoying her second year as a member of Montini's Peer Ministry Team. She is a member of LaSallian Youth, as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also represents Montini Catholic as a Student Ambassador. Heather is this year's Tri-M (Music) Honor Society Treasurer and shares her musical talents as a member of the Treblemakers. She also tried her hand at Pep Band her sophomore year. She is quite honored to be a member of the Student Government, helping to plan engaging events for her peers. Academically, Heather is a member of the Math Team, the Spanish Club, the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. Earlier this year, Heather received Montini's Robert Huntoon Memorial Scholarship which recognizes exceptional talent in mathematics. And lastly, athletically, she has been a vital member of the Bronco Cross Country and Track and Field Teams.
Heather is still in the college decision process, but plans to major in Chemical Engineering and to minor in Mathematics. Her top three college choices are the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University and the University of Michigan. She credits Math Teacher and Math Team leader, Mrs. Chrissie McManus for inspiring her throughout her Bronco journey. "Mrs. McManus has inspired me through all three years she’s taught me—although she has an immense workload and takes on so many responsibilities at Montini, she is still one of the most positive and caring people I have met! She is selfless and is always there to help and encourage all her students," says Heather, adding, "It’s also crazy how she finds ways to make Calculus classes engaging, and largely because of that, I decided that I want to keep studying math in college!"
"Congratulations to both Heather and Nora," said Montini Catholic President Jim Segredo. "We are so very proud of their many, many accomplishments so far at Montini. And, I know they're not quite finished adding to their impressive achievements."