Student Advisory Council

Meet the Members

Anasia Beckham
South Shore International College Prep
Class of 2025
I serve on an advisory board for my community, Englewood, and am passionate about having more local work-based learning opportunities, as transportation is very hard to come by.
Nicole Griffith
Fulton High School
Class of 2024
I am a voice for the student body. As the Vice President of the Junior Class and a BLIND Leader, I take great pride in giving guidance to others, getting my peers involved, and creating the high school experience that they want! 
Olivia Hendrix
Belvidere North High School
Class of 2024
I try to advocate for those who can’t. Freshman year, I expressed to the principal that the dress code excluded the religions and cultures of minorities, even though these garments don’t pertain to me. The handbook was changed to explicitly state that cultural, religious, and medical headpieces are allowed.
Heaven Holloway
South Shore International College Prep
Class of 2025
I’ve demonstrated leadership in school by trying to start programs to help others with mental health issues and also helping at HOSA's Leadership Conference.
Anthony Kelson
Mendota Township High School
Class of 2025
I helped form a Dungeons and Dragons club at my high school and am an unofficial assistant coach on the MHS track team, teaching proper hurdle techniques to younger athletes.
Samuel Matura
Mendota Township High School
Class of 2025
I consider myself to be an excellent team player who is willing to work with others at home, school, and within my community. I am open to sharing ideas and listening to others while maintaining self-confidence, responsibility, reliability, and punctuality.
Nahaj Mcgraw
Carver Military Academy
Class of 2025
I demonstrate leadership by helping others. In addition to urging others to join sports teams or student government, I've shown leadership by doing something to aid others. I believe every student's voice matters, and if there is an issue or problem at school, it should be brought to light.
Deleriana Mclemore
East St. Louis Sr. High School
Class of 2024
I'm student body president and a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, Superintendent's Council, LOVE organization, and Beta Club, serving my school and community. I was nominated for and attended the Harvard Pre-Med Level 1 program in 2022.
Tristan Poplous
Danville High School
Class of 2026
I've demonstrated leadership in school by guiding a number of students in the right direction whilst in class, helping and supporting them with the tools to succeed in the class.
Shreyas Raini
Barrington High School
Class of 2024
I am the 2021–23 youth committee co-chair for NRIVA, supporting the South Asian community through cultural events, health fairs, and global fundraising. As the Illinois chapter leader for the Girls Computing League, I lead project-based learning initiatives to help provide STEM opportunities to low-income schools.
Pragati Shree Sasikumar
Normal Community High School
Class of 2026
I assist young children in my dance class, arriving early to help new students with their lessons. This has taught me great communication skills and patience. I also founded a DECA club in my school, which gave me the opportunity to lead a team as a freshman.
Rowan Smith
Moline High School
Class of 2025

I am currently part of our Student Leadership Team as a librarian and am on track to be both band manager and drum major next year for our marching band. I help maintain our music library, co-chair the homecoming parade committee, and am captain of our JV academic team.

Jose Vences
North Chicago Community High School
Class of 2025
I accepted and joined the Junior Achievement of Chicago student panel, which led to a final board meeting during my freshman year in which I shared common opinions of the JA program in schools and in our community. At work, I train new people and deal with sometimes angry customers. Through this, I've learned a valuable skill: diffusing conflicts and staying calm in a high-stress environment.
Kanon Wollerman
Vandalia High School
Class of 2024
I am president of our FFA chapter, am advancing to state for the FFA public speaking competition, and ran an agricultural camp at the YMCA for 4th-6th graders. Newly inducted into the National Honor Society, I was voted to be president, am a team captain in football, and a leader in the bass fishing club.
Emily Won
Barrington High School
Class of 2024
As a student participating in my district’s Career Pathways program, I developed a passion for advancing career education. I am working with the Illinois State Board of Education to unite Career and Technical Student Organizations, am president and founder of the Career Equity and Leadership Initiative at my school, and am president of the Illinois Science Olympiad Youth Advisory Council.
Qi Zhang
Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Class of 2025
As a leading member of Catalyst Club’s Policy and Legislation committee, I’ve significantly committed to leading and supporting positive, healthy changes. I spoke in front of the Vernon Hills Village Board on the ban on flavored tobacco and supported my peers while they were presenting.
Jeremy Avan
East St. Louis Sr. H.S.
Class of 2023
Abigail Bowen
Hoopeston Area SD # 11
Class of 2022
Alex Casas
Mendota Township H.S.
Class of 2023
Isabelle Escatel
Mendota Township H.S.
Class of 2023
Puranjay Gupta
Rockford Auburn H.S.
Class of 2022
Isaiah Haynes
East Saint Louis Sr. H.S.
Class of 2021
Isabella Hernandez
Rockford Auburn H.S.
Class of 2022
Joshua Hernandez
Westinghouse College Prep
Class of 2023
Makaela Johnson
Lindblom Math/Science Academy
Class of 2021
Jozlyn Mahnesmith
Jozlyn Mahnesmith
Rockford East H.S.
Class of 2023
Anusha Nadkarni
Anusha Nadkarni
Bloomington H.S.
Class of 2023
Irais Montoya
Irais Montoya
Wheeling H.S.
Class of 2023
Aline Niyogusenga
Rock Island H.S.
Class of 2023
Sestina Oduro
Southland College Prep Charter H.S.
Class of 2023
Adrian Panopio
Steinmetz H.S.
Class of 2021
Karel Pene
Evanston Township H.S.
Class of 2022
Trinity Pursley
Danville H.S.
Class of 2022
Joanna Renedo
Joanna Renedo
North Chicago Community H.S.
Class of 2023
Ashley Smith
John Hersey H.S.
Class of 2022
Cynthia Taylor-Cutler
East St. Louis Sr. H.S.
Class of 2022

About the Student Advisory Council

The most effective change is grounded in the experiences of and inputs from those most impacted by any system. The Network Organizers—Advance Illinois, Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University (EdSystems), and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)—established a Student Advisory Council to gather feedback on how students experience various initiatives that the Network supports. Network Organizers also seek to understand what kinds of supports would be helpful to students as they navigate the education system.

The Council gathers on a regular basis to share their perspectives to inform the Success Network’s efforts and statewide policy more broadly, deepen their own knowledge on issues that advance educational equity, and strengthen their understanding of the education policy and practice landscape in Illinois.

SAC Video at 2023 Conference
SAC Video at 2022 Conference
SAC Panel at the 2022 Conference

Role, Responsibilities, and Accountability

Success Network Student Advisory Council members can expect:

  • Meaningful opportunities to contribute recommendations to improve educational experiences and outcomes for students across Illinois
  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Access to Success Network leaders from around the state and opportunities to learn about diverse careers in the education sector
  • A $100 per meeting stipend as part of your participation

Members reflect the diversity of students in Illinois and embody the following:

  • Current high school students at a public school in one of the Success Network Leadership Communities
  • Open to new ideas and desire to learn
  • Willing to share their knowledge about and experiences with education
  • Responsible and reliable, participating in up to three virtual meetings per academic year

Time Commitment

Membership in the Student Advisory Council is a two-year commitment. Upon completion of a term, members in good standing who are still in high school will be invited to renew for a consecutive term. To ensure continuity, members are selected from all grade levels. To be in good standing, members are expected to attend virtual meetings or communicate conflicts in advance. The Network Director will work with members to identify dates and times that work best around school year schedules. Additionally, members are encouraged to attend the Success Network’s annual conference as possible to increase their familiarity with the Network and its mission.

SAC in Action

In Their Own Words

After learning about the Postsecondary and Career Expectation (PaCE) Framework and the ISAC Student Portal at their first meeting of school year 2023–24, SAC members

Student Advisory Council: Winter 2023 Meeting

SAC members provided thoughtful insights on their course selection and advising experiences, plus shared their perspectives on high school graduation, college enrollment, and community college remediation data from the Illinois School Report Card.

Student Advisory Council: Spring 2022 Meeting

The Student Advisory Council gathered for its final meeting of the 2021-2022 school year to discuss work-based learning, networking, and dual credit, plus send off the Class of 2022.

Words of Advice from the Class of 2021

In our May 2021 meeting of the Student Advisory Council, the departing seniors shared lessons learned and future plans with the underclassmen members. Check out their insights!

What’s a Good Job or Career?

In the May 2021 convening of the Student Advisory Council, Juan Jose Gonzalez of Education Systems Center at NIU introduced the concept of the living wage and shared resources for learning more about career opportunities that meet the living wage threshold.