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Meet Eli Whitney Elementary School’s Class of 2024 Valedictorian

23 May 2024

Isaac is known as a great role model who is always willing to help out around his school. 

Whitney Student

Isaac has a lot of accomplishments he could bring up as part of his valedictorian speech at his upcoming graduation from Eli Whitney Elementary School. However, he is more focused on using his speech to thank those who have helped him along the way—his friends, his teachers, and his family. 

One teacher who he believes has made an especially positive impact on his elementary school experience is Ms. Alicia Pena-Medina, who has gotten to know him well over the past several years. She sees Isaac as someone who is always willing to go the extra mile to help his classmates or his school overall. 

“Isaac is so responsible and such a role model for others,” she said. “He is always the one to ‘save me’ by participating in class, and he is a great sport about anything he is asked to do.” 

Next year, Isaac will be headed off to Lane Tech College Prep, following in the footsteps of his older siblings who also attended Whitney. Get to know him more below. 

What are your interests both inside and outside of the classroom? 

I’ve always enjoyed reading because I love to read stories and relate to different characters. I’ve recently read the three books that are part of the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman. Outside of school, I like to draw and I also play a little bit of basketball. 

I’m also into technology and have been part of the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program for most of my life. This program has introduced me to a lot of math and science concepts from bridge building to coding. 

How have you grown during elementary school? 

When I was younger, I think that I could be described as a chatterbox. I’ve definitely toned it down a bit. My time at Whitney has definitely allowed me to be very creative, and I still love to express myself in different ways. I also think that my teachers and peers would describe me as smart and hard-working. I never want to be seen as a student who doesn’t try his best. 

What are some of your favorite memories of elementary school? 

I’ve been part of a program called Student Patrol for the past few years. This program allows me to volunteer around the school and help manage and supervise different events. I also will always remember all of the time I’ve spent talking with my friends and reading so many great books. 

What are you looking forward to the most in high school? 

I’m excited to make new friends and take new classes. I plan on learning French and computer science. I really want to challenge myself in high school. I want to take harder classes so that I’m more prepared for the future. 

Where do you see yourself in 20 years? 

I am interested in pursuing a career in either engineering or architecture. 

What advice would you give to future eighth-graders at Eli Whitney? 

I encourage them not to take their last year lightly, because your grades definitely still count in eighth grade. At the same time, you should keep your head high and think about the future you want to have. 

If you could sum up your time in elementary school in one word, what would it be and why? 

Active. I have enjoyed all of the opportunities at Whitney, and I’ve never felt like I haven’t had anything to do. 

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