By Olivia Apostolovski, JWHS Student Journalist
Joliet West High School seniors Franco Rota and Jada Brand were recently awarded the prestigious title of Mr. and Miss Alpha Omega for the 2016-2017 school year at the Senior Awards Ceremony held on May 10.
The Mr. and Miss Alpha Omega contest is an annual event sponsored by the yearbook that names the best all-around senior boy and girl. This is an honored and long-standing tradition of JTHS history and the winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and will have the opportunity to be the speakers for their graduation ceremony.
“The requirements for becoming Mr. and Miss Alpha Omega start off with a list of all seniors who have had a 3.5 GPA for 7 semesters. It was then narrowed down to 100 students and the staff completed a survey to evaluate them on their character, service, leadership and academics,” said sponsor Jennifer Galloy.
The selected students are then required to participate in the Student Ambassador program, which emphasizes leadership and service, and must complete an extensive resume, cover letter and have two letters of recommendation. Resumes are sent off to a panel of judges who represent the Joliet community. The judges then interviewed the top thirteen students and award points based on leadership, poise, maturity and commitment to Joliet West and the community. The winners were determined solely on the resume and interview.
Both Brand and Rota have had packed schedules full of Honors and Advanced Placement classes during their time at West and have been active in many clubs as well such as National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Student Ambassadors. Although they are similar scholastically, both of them are unique in their own ways.
Brand has been an active participant in AP classes and has won many awards throughout the duration of her academic career, some of which include Top 25 Student, Illinois State Scholar, AP Scholar with Honors and Freshmen/Sophomore Academic Achievement. On top of these awards, Brand is an active member of numerous clubs, which include the ones listed above as well as Tri-M, Y.M.C.A. Young Achievers and Key Club. She participated in the Black History Month Assembly, recently attended a Women’s Leadership Conference and was recognized at the AP District of the Year Assembly as a student representative. Her plans after high school are to attend Howard University in order to major in Criminal Justice and to minor in Business or Law.
Rota has taken a variety of AP classes throughout his time at Joliet West and has received many awards as a result of his dedication, some of which include Top 25 Student, Illinois State Scholar, ACT Pacesetter, AP Scholar with Honors and AP Achievement in U.S. History and Human Geography. On top of his academic achievements, Rota has completed a variety of community service hours at Action Plan Team and Timbers of Shorewood, where he took part at their spook house and Easter Parade. His plans after high school are to attend Loyola University to get his Bachelors of Biology with Pre-Med Track.
Both individuals were ecstatic to have won this title and had similar reactions but credit their success to different things, “It is an extreme pleasure to receive the honor of being named Mr. Alpha Omega. I am truly grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to represent the graduating class of 2017 and express my feelings regarding my experiences at this wonderful school,” said Franco Rota.
“After winning this title, I am for one so grateful and secondly so proud of myself for remaining dedicated to myself and my education. This title means the world to me. I would have never believed as a freshman that this little shy sort of awkward girl would blossom and be awarded Miss Alpha Omega. I was given the chance to show my younger siblings that with hard work and perseverance that you can do anything. I have grown as a student as well as a person throughout the halls of Joliet West and this title demonstrates that growth of character, integrity, responsibility and so much more. Thank you so much for this opportunity and experience,” says Jada Brand.
The Mr. Alpha Omega first runner up was Jaylin Holland and second runner up was Anthony Conde. The Miss Alpha Omega first runner up was Hannah Perruquet and second runner up was Itzel Gomez. The first runners up will receive a $500 scholarship and the second runners up will receive at $250 scholarship.