Great News for Our Students – Lake View High School Is Getting a Maker Space!

A lot more details to come over the next month, but for now the basics…

Q. What is a Maker Space?asucic_8
A. The Maker Space is a lab that allows students to integrate high tech devices and applications into the process of creating, designing, and actually building prototypes, products, artistic work, etc.  Because it is an environment meant to provide students with the tools to craft and build actual items, don’t be surprised to see a drill press or a sewing machine sitting next to high-precision laser cutters and 3-D printers.
Q. Does my student have to be into engineering or computers to use the Maker Space Lab?
A. No!  The purpose of the Maker Space is to allow all students to utilize a variety of tools to build upon their creativity, critical thinking and innovation skills in real-life situations.   These creative opportunities are just as valuable and relevant to students with an art or history focus as they are to students with a more technology-based focus.
Q. Will access to the Maker Space lab be limited to only certain students?
makerspace_kidsA. No!   The lab will be accessible to all LVHS students through integration of the Maker Space lab into the broader coursework of various classes as well as after-school access for further independent use by students.
Q. When will the Maker Space be open at Lake View HS?
A. The schedule is to have the space set up and operational by April, with the lab being fully utilized as part of the broader Lake View High School curriculum for our students at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year in September.
Q. How will the Maker Space be developed to maximize its potential?
ic750085A. Ty Graham, LVHS Assistant Principal & STEM Director, will be working closely with our partners from Microsoft and Northwestern University in designing the space, assessing equipment/supply requirements, and determining how to best integrate the space into the Lake View curriculum.  The Maker Space will utilize similar equipment found at universities like Northwestern, providing our students a University-quality experience to best prepare them for their college years (and beyond).

LVHS Principal Selection Committee

The following is a message from the Local School Council of Lake View High School:

Dear LV Community –

As you know, our current principal, Mr. Karafiol is serving as Interim Principal.  On Wednesday, January 25th, 2017, the position for contract principal at Lake View will be posted by the district. On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the Local School Council  (LSC) will conduct its regular monthly meeting and then go into closed session to review and discuss the resumes of prospective principal candidates. The public is invited to attend the regular open session which will begin at 6pm.  At 7pm, Mr. Karafiol will excuse himself from the meeting and the public will be invited to share their thoughts on the principal selection process. Once the comments have been heard, the LSC will go into a closed session.

To stay updated with what’s happening and check the LSC minutes as well as the principal’s report,  feel free to visit the website

Lo siguiente es mensaje del Consejo Escolar Local de Lake View High School:

Estimada comunidad de LV,

Como ustedes saben, nuestro actual principal, Mr. Karafiol está sirviendo como principal interino. El miércoles 25 de Enero, 2017, la posición de un principal contratado para Lake View será anunciada por el distrito.  El jueves 16 de Febrero, 2017, el Consejo Escolar Local (LSC) conducirá su reunión mensual regular, para luego entrar en una sesión a puerta cerrada para revisar y discutir los resúmenes de los candidatos a principal en perspectiva.  El público está invitado a participar en la sesión regular abierta, que será de 6 PM a 7 PM.  Mr. Karafiol se excusará de la reunión y se invitará al público a compartir sus ideas acerca del proceso para seleccionar al principal.  Una vez que los comentarios hayan sido escuchados, el LSC entrará en sesión a puerta cerrada.

Para estar al tanto de lo que sucede, revisar las minutas, asi como el reporte del principal, tómese la libertad de visitar el portal http:/

Exciting News: Northwestern Partners with Lake View

Dear Members of the Lake View Community,

I have exciting news to share with you: Northwestern University has adopted Lake View High School and will be our Early College STEM Partner!

Northwestern University has an international reputation for STEM teaching and learning, for work in the field of education, and for programs that enrich and accelerate the growth of academically talented students. We are eager to leverage these strengths to provide increased opportunities for our students and increased support for the work our teachers are doing every day. And we are delighted to offer Northwestern’s students of education the opportunity to work in a high-performing, diverse neighborhood school with a strong STEM focus. As we move forward, we plan to engage faculty and students on both campuses in identifying where and how our partnership can be most impactful.

Of course, Lake View High School would not be the school that it is without the support of our other partners, including DePaul and the City Colleges on the educational side, Microsoft, Deloitte, and the Chicago Cubs on the corporate side, and GrowCommunity as an essential link with our neighborhood. We see our coming work with Northwestern as adding to and complementing the work of our existing partners, and we are incredibly grateful for all of their support.

When Northwestern Vice President for Research Jay Walsh stepped in our building for the first of many planning meetings, he remarked that with Northwestern and Lake View sharing the “Wildcat” moniker, the partnership seemed almost fated. It’s taken a lot of thinking and planning to bring this about, and we’re so very excited to link our Wildcats with theirs.


Paul J. Karafiol

Final Numbers: LVHS Seniors Earn 781 College Acceptances

End-of-year data from last year is in, and the 2015 LVHS graduating class saw a total of 781 college acceptances, a total amounting to nearly three university acceptances per senior. “This number represents a range of colleges, matched to a huge range of higher education goals among our seniors,” said Erin Howell, College & Career Coach.

“The numbers are great, but it’s the stories behind the numbers that I’m so proud of. From Ivy League to outstanding state schools to smaller specialized colleges, our 2015 LVHS seniors are spread across the United States and taking the aspirations and learnings from LVHS with them,” says Principal Scott Grens. “Whatever university a student aspires to, it is our job to get them there; and, these numbers demonstrate that our team is doing that.”

This year, 41 LVHS students have already been nominated for four-year, full-tuition Posse Scholarships, awarded to students with outstanding academic and leadership credentials.

If you are interested in learning more about Lake View High School – Chicago’s Premier Neighborhood High School – please visit the school website at and visit the LVHS Open House on October 24th from 9am-12pm.

The University of Chicago Awards LVHS Top Rating in School Performance

The 2015 University of Chicago’s nationally regarded Illinois 5Essentials report uses survey data from over 80% of LVHS students and teachers – as well as a large sample of parents – to report year-over-year changes in U of C’s five essential components for school success. At LVHS, the anonymous survey showed major yearly increases across the board, in some cases matching or exceeding scores given to local selective enrollment high schools.
2015 highlights include:

  • 89% of teachers would recommend the school to parents
  • 95% of teachers feel respected by other teachers
  • 93% of teachers believe the staff works hard to build relationships with parents
  • 90% of students believe that teachers work hard to make sure everyone is learning

Of the 5 essentials for an effective school, LVHS increased between 11 and 28 points in each of these categories between 2014 and 2015:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Ambitious Instruction
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Supportive Environment
  • Involved Families

“While these numbers demonstrate the incredible progress our school-wide team is making across the board, we’re just getting started,” says Principal Scott Grens.

Astrophysics at Princeton via Lake View High School and the American Dream

Astrophysics at Princeton via Lake View High School

Above: Don Geci, LVHS Senior, Celebrating his Acceptance in Astrophysics at Princeton

There are stories of inspiration and success in education – and then there is Don Geci.

The LVHS senior’s acceptance to Princeton is one chapter in an incredible 18-year story: Stillborn and revived during the Kosovo War; four months trekking with his family through forests and mountains, searching for safety; arrival in the US with little knowledge of the language, nearly no money, and one American family willing to host them.

Don offered to share the story of how LVHS helped him achieve a goal he has held for 10 years – being able to repay his parents for their hardship while simultaneously achieving his dreams in astrophysics.

In the process, he provides a real-world look at Chicago’s Premier High School – the actual inside story about the school’s teachers, student body, academic rigor, spirit, and achievement.

Q: Chicago has a “selective” process around high schools, which can create the perception that neighborhood high schools have a less capable student body. Tell us a little about the cohort at Lake View.

A: The student body here is very much like a family. Since the week I found out about the acceptance, I’ve almost been late to some of my classes because of high-fives, hugs, and congratulations from so many students (editor’s note: I witnessed several of these first-hand while we walked through the school). That is the sort of spirit you find here.

Prior to Lake View, I attended a private school in the city because my parents had heard misconceptions about Lake View. They can’t be blamed; we arrived in Chicago a month before the school year started, and misconceptions are mostly what are available. After a couple days of attending the private school, I asked my parents to transfer me, as I wanted a more advanced science program. When my parents were called in to meet the counselor at my private school about the transfer, I was asked to leave the room – but I continued to listen through the wall. The counselor gave them the same uninformed story that I guess is going around: “I’m just worried about his safety at LVHS.”

Where do they get this? They’ve probably never been inside Lake View. In four years, I have never had a confrontation with another student. This is as supportive and safe a high school cohort as can be.

But at the time, not knowing any better, the counselor’s words worried me. However, in the second period of my first day, I had already made five of my first friends. And it’s felt like home ever since.

Not only have my peers been very supportive of my goals, but also of my passion for astrophysics. Over the past four years, I’ve given hundreds of “lunchtime lectures” – discussions on science over lunch with students and faculty.

And while astrophysics isn’t the sort of topic that’s paramount in everyone’s mind, my peers show great enthusiasm for it during the lectures, an appreciation for the knowledge. This was even more evident when Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Interstellar were released. Many came to me with questions regarding the films. Discussing Cosmos was especially significant, considering Sagan’s series served as one of my inspirations, and I’ve dreamed of hosting the third.

Overall, there really is a spirit at LVHS that’s pervasive – and I’ve felt it rising over the past couple of years, with our new administration and partnerships. When you actually spend time in the school, you can feel the school rising. I’m proud of that.

Q: Our readers will be interested in your insight into LVHS’s academics. Where has the school most supported your success?

A: Every time I’m asked about LVHS, I always mention the faculty first.

So many of my teachers have become mentors and counsel. Because my first passion is science, I’ll give you one quick related example.

Mrs. Zagorski, my freshman physics teacher – and now one of my closest friends and counsel – shares my inquisitiveness and passion, and this was apparent to me in the classroom. But to my surprise, she invited me to an incredible series of astrophysics lectures at the University of Chicago outside of the school day, and this became a tradition of ours. We have a great history together, and I’ve had a similar relationship with other teachers. Astrophysics/Cosmology with Mrs. Zagorski; Chemistry with Mr. Cram; World History with Mr. Vast-Binder; Bach and Debussy with Mr. Mendoza; Ayn Rand and Fitzgerald with Mrs. Stephani, and more. What all these teachers have in common is that they have a passion for the subject they teach. To me, there’s no better characteristic to look for in a teacher.

Q: What extracurricular activities have you taken advantage of at LVHS?

A: I have been captain of swim team for two years and MVP for the last three. I’ve been the National Honor Society VP, and VP of the Key Club, which does community service.  I was the founder and lecturer of Science Club, which I began with the help of Mrs. Zagorski. I’ve been a Chicago Scholar and Cubs Scholar for two years. I had a great internship at Northwestern University, where I learned more about exoplanets through data from the Kepler Space Telescope. I also served on the Lake View Peer Jury – this is the “judicial branch” of the LVHS student government. If a student has a problem – tardiness, for example – we talk about the consequences, and discuss how something like tardiness is not trivial. Five students and a teacher discuss the problem with the student, and we focus on working out a solution with them, to work themselves out of that situation. Another great resource within LVHS.

Q: What are your post-LVHS plans?

A: I plan to go to university and complete my undergraduate with a degree in astrophysics, likely at Princeton. I’ll go onto graduate school for my Ph.D and stay in university as a post-doc for research purposes. I would love to make a significant contribution to my field. From there, I hope to slowly start in science communications, perhaps author a few books, give guest lectures, host a television show, that sort of thing.

LVHS Senior Represents Chicago at White House Science Fair, Sets Sights on Congress

LVHS Senior Represents Chicago at White House Science FairMoving from City Science Fair to the White House as the sole representative of Chicago might suggest a future in science, but Lucy has other plans – becoming a Congresswoman. A two-time honoree at the City Science Fair, Lucy recently chose from a number of university offers – including U of I at Urbana, Michigan State, Iowa, and others – and selected The University of Mississippi, due to the strength of the political science program.

“My incentive to model an electronic pancreas is personal,” says Lucy, “as I come from a long line of diabetics and wanted to contribute to a cure. I love the experience and environment of Science Fair, but apart from science I spent all the sleepless nights of getting it right because I knew it could help people.”

Lucy’s long-term goal of becoming a Congresswoman is built around the same desire to bring positive change to the world, and she notes that beyond meeting with the President, Vice President, the Administrator of NASA, and even Bill Nye, it was the other projects at the White House that inspired her most.

“There were five kindergarten students who created a Lego-based device that turns pages for people who are paralyzed,” says Lucy. “Across the board, the students I met made me so hopeful for the future.”

Asked about her experience at LVHS, Lucy is quick to point out that as an Ambassador for the school, she works to correct misperceptions and hearsay about the school.

“It seems like people believe the first thing they hear, whether it’s true or not,” says Lucy. “People should learn for themselves, like I did, and as more parents and students are doing.”
“Coming from Audubon, LVHS is the perfect size for me. There are so many opportunities – I was able to play varsity softball, participate in the French Club and Alliance Francaise, participate in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, compete in Mock Trial… every year, there is more to experience here. That’s not talk. That’s the truth.”

Asked about academics, Lucy recounts her experiences as a freshman. “I was a high-performer at Audubon, so I was recommended into Honors classes, and I’ve stayed mostly an Honors and AP student. I like the faster pace of the classes, and all of my teachers have made themselves available outside of the school day to help me where I needed it.”

But Lucy says that the school’s overall culture and spirit has been particularly supercharged over the last year, and that you can feel it in the hallways.

“I feel it more every month – knowing this school from the inside, I’m glad to see that the old stories about Lake View are finally giving way to the truth.”

Watch Lucy’s recent appearance on ABC TV here.