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Rocky senior helps improve Illinois education on statewide council

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Aline Niyogusenga

Rock Island High School senior Aline Niyogusenga, who was selected as one of 14 across the state for the Illinois Education and Career Success Network's Student Advisory Council this year. Photo via Jenna Panicucci, web content specialist for Rock Island-Milan Schools.

Aline Niyogusenga, a Rock Island High School senior, was selected to sit on the Illinois Education and Career Success Network's Student Advisory Council — one of 14 students across the state and the first in Rocky history. 

The Students Advisory Council has the opportunity to offer input and recommendations to improve educational outcomes and experiences for Illinois students, meeting virtually three times a year for an hour and a half. Niyogusenga will represent the entire Black Hawk region, which includes Rock Island, Henry and Mercer Counties. 

This year, the Student Advisory Council will focus on sharing tools that help students prepare for life after high school. In a Rocky news release, Niyogusenga said she's loved the chance to collaborate with other Illinois students. 

"It’s been fun. It’s really interesting to see how they do their school system and how it’s really different from my school system and how I can take from what they do and bring it here or vice versa," she said.

Students on the council are given assignments throughout the year to work on. One of Niyogusenga's teachers, Jennifer Johnson, encouraged her to apply for the Advisory Council. 

“She strives to reach her goals and always treats others with kindness. Whenever I or her classmates need help, she always volunteers to assist us," Johnson said in the release. "Additionally, Aline possesses a growth mindset and is always eager to learn and challenge herself. She also devotes her time to making our school and community better." 

If a student's application was chosen, they were interviewed by the Illinois Education and Career Success Network board over Zoom. 

At the end of the school year, students on the council can attend the Success Network’s annual conference in person. Students receive a $100 stipend per meeting as part of their participation.

(Left to right) Rock Island High School tech support staff Brendan Sears and math teacher Tim Corwin conquer the final round of the "Hot Shakes Challenge" on Thursday. 10 Rocky staff members tasked increasing levels of hot sauce flavors while reading short excerpts from Shakespeare to raise money and donations for the annual Student Hunger Drive. 

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