• Below are some of the honors, awards and accomplishments that students and staff from Hinsdale South earned during the 2020-21 school year.

    Faculty and Staff

    • Social studies teacher David Ritter was named a "most influential teacher" by Illinois State University. He was recognized by the university for the high levels of energy and academic rigor he brings to his classroom, and for inspiring his students to pursue careers in education.

    • Rick Cazzato and Jennifer Gilbert were guest presenters at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference on Oct. 17.

    • Kirk Hickman, who is the band director at Hinsdale South, was one of seven individuals to receive the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award by the Quinlan & Fabish Music Company.

    • Business teacher Vince Doran was inducted into the players wing of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

    • Courtney Gillette was named the Illinois Drill Team Association Coach of the Year.
    • The American Psychological Association (APA) published an interactive lesson created by social studies teacher Emily Polacek in APA Style, which is a highly respected and peer-reviewed online journal that helps writers "present their ideas in a clear, precise, and inclusive manner." Through her lesson, Ms. Polacek seeks to facilitate the understanding and mastery of APA's citation style. By doing so, she is able to help students hone their research and writing skills, and gives them the tools they need to avoid the trappings of plagiarism.

    • Nancy Betker received the Standing Ovation Award from the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health in recognition of her work with the district’s Operation Snowball program. Operation Snowball is "an alcohol and other drug use prevention program based in Springfield, Illinois that focuses on leadership development to empower youth to lead drug-free lives."


    Individual Students

    • Senior Dhruv Vaze was named a candidate for the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Each year, up to 161 students are named Presidential Scholars, which is considered one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

    • Senior Dylan Davis was selected for the College Board's National African American Recognition Program.

    • Senior Julian Watson won his second straight sectional championship and third straight regional championship in cross country.

    • Junior Billy Gneiser took first place in the regional tournament and second place in the sectional tournament for boys golf.

    • The following students from Hinsdale South took first place in their individual events during a competition that was held in conjunction with the Illinois Business Professionals of America (BPA) State Leadership Conference:

      • Nicholas Momchev - Fundamentals of Web Design
      • Aayush Patel - Network Administration Using Cisco ®
      • Brigid Rudolph - Interview Skills
    • Two students from Hinsdale South finished in the top 10 in their individual events during the virtual competition held in conjunction with the Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Leadership Conference. Aayush Patel took fourth place in the Network Administration Using Cisco event, and Nicholas Momche took ninth place in the Java Programming event.

    • Junior Safia Khan was invited to attend the online version of the Summer Academy that is organized and run by The School of The New York Times. She was also selected as a recipient of the Diverse Voices Scholarship, which will help fund her participation in the program.

    • Junior Fouzaan Amjad received the recognition of Outstanding Attorney during the 2021 ISBA High School Mock Trial Invitational.

    • Freshman Sarrah Handlawala earned a Silver Key at the national level for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She was automatically considered for the honor after earning a Golden Key in the regional competition.

    • Junior Zaynab Rehman earned third place in the BRAIN Initiative Challenge for her essay titled "Brain Organoids isn’t a 'No-Brainer,'" which addresses the ethical questions associated with using stem cells to engineer brain-like structures to study disease. The event, which was hosted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is a "federal challenge opportunity (prize competition) for high school students who are curious about science, the brain, and the ethical implications of novel technologies being developed and applied to understand the brain and treat brain disorders."

    • Sophomore Maggie Chen took third place in singles at the state tournament for badminton. 

    • Senior Joyce Ebikhumi won best in state in the World of 7 Billion student video contest for her entry titled "Cleaning up Brownfields."

    • Senior Henry Mihindou qualified for the state tournament in boys gymnastics after taking second place on the still rings and third place on vault at sectionals. 


    School and District

    • Seventeen students from Hinsdale South earned the distinction of “National AP Scholar." This honor is granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on their AP exams, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

    • Twenty-seven students from District 86 were recognized as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

    • Fifty-one students from District 86 were recognized as Commended Students in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

    • The girls tennis team from Hinsdale South won the West Suburban Silver conference championship.

    • Hinsdale South's Illusions Art Magazine was awarded a First Place with Special Merit by the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA). It was also named the Most Outstanding High School Art Magazine for 2020.

    • One hundred seniors from across the district earned the Seal of Biliteracy for the fall of 2020 by scoring a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement exam in the spring, or performing well on a language proficiency test during first semester.

    • District 86 students earned 10 Gold Keys, 16 Silver Keys and eight Honorable Mentions in conjunction with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

    • Sixty-five students from District 86 earned All District selections for band, chorus, jazz band and orchestra from the Illinois Music Education Association.

    • The speech team from Hinsdale South took third place in the state tournament. The school also had top three finishes in several individual events, including two tournament championships by  Darrell Mondaine (Original Comedy) and Sofia Guerrero (Original Oratory).

    • Hinsdale South's varsity danceline team won the conference championship, took second place at sectionals and took seventh place at state. The team's finish at the state tournament was its best in school history. In addition, the varsity and junior varsity teams both won the championship in their Pom Dance category at the Illinois Drill Team Association state finals. This is the second straight year the two teams have taken home the title in this category.

    • Hinsdale South's cheer team took third place at the junior varsity level and fifth place at the varsity level at the WSC Cheer Invite, both of which represented the team’s best finish at the event in school history. The varsity squad was also the fifth cheer team from South to make the state tournament, and earned its second highest place at the event in school history (20th in the Medium Division).

    • The varsity boys basketball team from Hinsdale South won the Gold Division in the West Suburban Conference.

    • Hinsdale South's drama department earned a pair of top five finishes during the IHSA Sectional Drama and Group Interpretation Tournament. South took first place in the Drama category for its production of "Over the River and Through the Woods," and fourth place in the Group Interpretation category for its production of "The Staggering Heartbreak of Jasmine Merriwether." The school also had eight students earn All-Sectional Actor awards for their performances.

    • The Hinsdale South Math Team took second place overall at regionals, and had three second place finishes and two third place finishes in individual events at the tournament. The team also finished in 18th place at state. 

    • The varsity girls badminton team from Hinsdale South won its conference title and claimed championships at all 15 positions for the first time school history. The team also took first place at sectionals. 

    • Student journalists from VESPA, which is Hinsdale South's yearbook, took second place overall at sectionals. They also had top three finishes in several individual events at the tournament, including championships in Review Writing, Sports Writing, Yearbook Copy Writing and Yearbook Theme Development.
    • Students from District 86 earned 35 gold medals, 55 silver medals, 52 bronze medals and 50 honorable mentions for the scores they received on the Spanish, French, German and Latin national world language exams they took last year. Several students from Hinsdale South received additional accolades for their individual performances:

      • Dimitrije GujanicicParth JoshiMitchell HansonDiya Syed and Leah Tharian were among the top scorers on the Spanish II, III and IV exams in the Chicago area, which resulted in them placing in the local chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).
      • Andrew Metzger earned honors on two different language tests (Spanish and Latin) for the second year in a row.