Noble Schools Celebrates 2024 Vittum Awards

On the bottom and top of this graphic, there are 17 pictures of different students at Noble Schools lined up. In the middle is a big blue rectangle with the Noble Schools logo and the words "Vittum Awards 2024" on it.
Published On: May 30th, 2024Categories: 2024, Noble Updates, Students

This month, Noble Schools announced the Vittum Awards winners for the 2024 school year. One junior from each campus was selected for their exceptional achievements and character traits that exemplify kindness, leadership, and mentorship.

The award is named after Dan Vittum Jr., who served as Noble’s first board chair. Each award recipient was selected based on input from their teachers and peers.

Learn more about this year’s winners and why they were selected for this award:

(Psst, also make sure to check out the video at the bottom where you can hear peers and teachers talking about how awesome their school’s Vittum Award winner is!)

Tavin McCree, Baker College Prep

Image shows a headshot of Tavin McCree, a student at Baker College Prep. He is a young Black man with short hair. He is smiling with a white t-shirt on.

Tavin McCree stands as worthy of the Vittum Award, embodying qualities of integrity and humility that define his character. Continually demonstrating his remarkable nature, Tavin serves as an exceptional mentor, displaying a genuine commitment to his mentee’s growth and well-being as a Lion’s Pride mentor. He consistently nurtures their relationship, striving to understand and fulfill the needs of his mentee.

In every setting, Tavin readily extends a helping hand, showcasing his hands-on approach and eagerness to contribute in any capacity possible. As a student, he sets a sterling example of excellence, and as a leader, he inspires others through his humility and dedication to service.

Damaris Purnell, Butler College Prep

Photo shows a waist up shot of Damaris Purnell, a student at Butler College Prep. He is a young Black man with medium-length locs and glasses. He is smiling with his arms crossed and is wearing a light gray t-shirt with the Butler logo on it. Behind him, you can see a wall with the Butler mascot on it.

Damaris Purnell embodies the essence of hard work, compassion, and integrity. Despite facing challenges, including a speech impediment, he navigates through life with unwavering confidence. As a student, Damaris shines both academically and personally. His teachers unanimously praise him as an exemplar in the classroom, where his problem-solving skills and dedication set him apart. Beyond academics, he is a diligent and compassionate student. He is the co-founder of Lynx House, an enrichment initiative where he and fellow leaders showcase their talents as artists. Through poetry, rap, and music, Damaris has found a platform to express himself authentically while empowering others to do the same.

He goes above and beyond to support his peers, serving as a role model for empathy and understanding. His actions speak volumes about his character, leaving an indelible mark on all who have the privilege of knowing him.

Madison Welch, Chicago Bulls College Prep

Photo shows a headshot of Madison Welch, a student at Chicago Bulls College Prep. She is a young Black woman with medium-length hair put up into two buns. She is wearing a black sweatshirt with the Bulls Prep logo on it.

Madison Welch has an unwavering commitment to scholarship, discipline, and honor in her school community. She has been described by members of the Bulls Prep community as hardworking, vibrant, helpful, and a strong leader.

Madison has displayed this leadership in many different roles at Bulls Prep. She’s a participating member of the cheer and math teams at Bulls Prep. She’s also the manager of our boys volleyball team and the secretary of our Black Student Union. As a result, Madison has fostered strong relationships with her peers that has gained their trust and respect for her as a student-athlete and student leader for our entire student body. Madison also shows up consistently to build relationships with families—welcoming them to events and report card pick-up. Her impact in the classroom and in the school community at large has earned her this well-deserved nomination.

Jason Bankhead, DRW College Prep

This photo is a headshot of Jason Bankhead, a student at DRW College Prep. He is a young Black man

Throughout his academic journey at DRW College Prep, Jason Bankhead has demonstrated his commitment to excellence by maintaining an impressive GPA of over 3.0. Beyond the classroom, he is active in a variety of sports, including basketball, football, and volleyball, showcasing his versatility and team spirit. In addition to excelling academically and athletically, Jason has played pivotal roles in the DRW and wider community—from organizing and executing Black Boy Joy events to serving as a referee for the North Lawndale YMCA. Guided by the principle of “Whatever I start, I need to finish,” Jason exemplifies perseverance and determination in all aspects of his life.

In the future, Jason Bankhead aspires to make a lasting impact in the field of mechanical engineering, carrying forward the values of academic excellence, community engagement, and personal growth that define his high school experience at DRW College Prep.

Janiya Thurman, Gary Comer College Prep

This photo is a full body shot of Janiya Thurman, a student at Gary Comer College Prep. She is a young Black woman with long braids pulled into a ponytail. In this photo, she is smiling and posing with a peace sign and wearing her green-and-white Gary Comer cheer team uniform.

Janiya Thurman is a student who is consistent, responsible, respectful and confident in who she is as an individual.

She’s a student who doesn’t follow the crowd and is outspoken about injustices she observes. She’s respectful to everyone, both her teachers and peers, and doesn’t mind going out of her way to lend a helping hand. Janiya is determined to excel in academics and is not afraid to say that she needs help or doesn’t understand something.

Dayanara Gutierrez, Golder College Prep

This photo is a headshot of Dayanara Gutierrez, a student at Golder College Prep. She is a young Latine woman with long straight hair. In this photo, she is smiling and wearing a black shirt.

Dayanara Gutierrez embodies Golder’s core values on a daily basis by embodying community through mentoring freshmen as a Lion’s Pride mentor and being an integral player on Golder’s softball and volleyball team since freshman year. Dayanara strives for excellence by embracing academic challenges, taking on a full courseload of AP classes, and is a distinguished member of the National Honor Society.

Golder is thrilled to name Dayanara Gutierrez as Golder’s 2024 Vittum Award recipient.

Patrick Okechukwu, Hansberry College Prep

Photo shows a headshot of Patrick Okechukwu, a student at Hansberry College Prep. He is a young Black man with a short buzz cut. In this photo, he is smiling and wearing a pale purple button-up and silver tie.

Patrick Okechukwu exemplifies honesty, integrity, kindness, thoughtfulness, and courage. He consistently goes the extra mile, while showing compassion and unwavering dedication in all he does. For Patrick, it’s not just about achievement—it’s about being a person of compassion and heart. Patrick is equally dedicated to his studies and his obligations outside of school, which include art club, anime club and volunteering at his church! Patrick even won the 1st place Drawing award at the Noble Visual Arts Festival last year.

While his academic and extracurricular achievements are certainly impressive, it is his character that makes Patrick truly deserving of this award. Every day, Patrick unapologetically shows up as his authentic self. Those who have had the privilege of knowing Patrick will not soon forget his presence and impact. Patrick’s positivity and kind-heartedness are infectious and the entire Bengal community is better off for knowing him.

David Cano, ITW David Speer Academy

This photo shows a headshot of David Cano, a student at ITW David Speer Academy. He is a young Latine man with short hair. In this photo, he is smiling and wearing a white t-shirt with the Speer Pride logo on it.

David Cano loves soccer, robotics, and his parents. At Speer, he shines both in the classroom and on the soccer field, where he plays center defensive mid for the boys varsity team. His passion for soccer extends well beyond the season—he spends most of his time outside of school on the field with his friends and dreams of playing in college on a D1 team. But soccer isn’t his only passion: David loves computers and robotics. He was a member of our robotics team during his freshman year and completed a three-week Summer Of A Lifetime program in robotics at Carleton College. David’s dream is to study Computer Science at Michigan University, Ann Arbor.

Teachers and peers alike love David for his positive attitude, good nature and humor, and his intellectual curiosity. He wants to express gratitude for the opportunities he has had because of the love, hard work, and sacrifice of his parents.

Emmanuel Poe, Johnson College Prep

This photo is a headshot of Emmanuel Poe, a student at Johnson College Prep. He is a young Black man with short locs. In this photo, he is wearing a bright red sweatshirt with the Johnson logo on top of a white collared shirt.

Emmanuel Poe is an exceptionally positive and motivated high school student with a keen interest in subjects such as English literature and history. Emmanuel consistently strives for academic excellence, maintaining a strong GPA while actively participating in class discussions, projects, and dual enrollment courses. Beyond the classroom, Emmanuel is an active participant in National Honors Society, chess club, and the dance team.

Whether it’s showcasing his leadership skills on the dance team or demonstrating his determination in National Honors Society, these experiences have not only expanded his horizons but also helped him develop valuable life skills.

Ernesto Sosa, Mansueto High School

This photo is a headshot of Ernesto Sosa, a student at Mansueto High School. He is a young Latine man with short curly hair and glasses. In this photo, he is wearing a light gray t-shirt underneath a black button-up.

Ernesto Sosa was selected as the Vittum Award recipient because of his commitment to live out each of Mansueto’s core values. Ernesto has demonstrated a community-driven mindset through his kindness to others and constant support of his peers. He shows excellence in the way he conducts himself at Mansueto with a weighted cumulative GPA of 4.4, 100% attendance record, and zero tardies for this school year. Ernesto’s resilience is unparalleled, as he is currently enrolled in five IB level classes and had straight A’s at the end of the first semester.

From his willingness to take academic risks, his motivation to achieve, and his intellectual curiosity, Ernesto’s optimism shines throughout the building. Masnsueto is honored to select Ernesto Sosa as the recipient of the 2024 Vittum Award.

Jason Dale, Muchin College Prep

This photo shows a headshot of Jason Dale, a student at Muchin College Prep. He is a young Black man with short locs. In this photo, he is smiling and wearing a black sweatshirt.

Jason Dale was selected as this year’s Vittum Award recipient for Muchin College Prep as he embodies what it means to be a true Mountain Lion. Jason is an advocate at heart and decided to explore his leadership skills through the Student Council to elevate student voice. He believes that with enough voices and unity, powerful change can happen. Jason’s teachers know him best for his investment in his classes, diligence in completing class work, and self-discipline. He has infectious positive energy and always makes friends with the people around him. Jason has a 4.0 cumulative GPA, has taken four honors classes, and is enrolled in two AP classes this school year.

Jason’s passion is basketball, and he has played since he was introduced to it as a child at the age of six. His parents are his biggest motivation and inspiration to keep going. Jason is interested in pursuing his education at an HBCU and strongly desires to follow the entrepreneurship path. He wants to create a brand that contributes heavily to charity to help people worldwide.

Miguel Carbajal, Noble Street College Prep

This photo shows a headshot of Miguel Carbajal, a student at Noble Street College Prep. He is a young Latine man with shoulder-length wavy hair. In this photo, he is wearing a dark blue sweatshirt with the Noble Street logo on it.

Miguel Carbajal is a hardworking and persistent student who is incredibly invested in his high school community. Since his freshman year, Miguel has been an active voice in student council, making it his student mission to enrich the student experience and make the school a fun and inviting place. He has built strong relationships with teachers and other students, and in doing so, has developed himself as a leader and pillar in the school community. He currently serves as the vice president for our student council and wants to run for president next year as a senior. In addition to his role as vice president, he also cofounded a more inclusive music club, incorporating both guitar and songwriting, after our Guitar Club sponsor left Noble Street.

Miguel is constantly pushing himself and exhibiting courage on stage. He is a natural guitar player and has shown the school his impressive skills by participating in our annual talent show. This year, he has pushed himself further by joining the cast in our annual musical. Miguel is a student who exemplifies school community and his peers seem to agree. He has gone above and beyond to forge a path for himself at Noble and in doing so, has ensured other students are able to as well.

Adrian Zarco, Pritzker College Prep

This photo is a full body shot of Adrian Zarco, a student at Pritzker College Prep. He is a young Latine man with short hair. In this photo, he is wearing his Pritzker Jaguar basketball uniform and is holding a basketball in one hand.

Adrian Zarco was nominated by staff and students because of his commitment to live out each of Pritzker’s core values: Tenacity, Excellence, Community, and Reflection. He shows excellence with his 3.59 GPA and displays tenacity, community, and reflection in his school activity involvement and community service. He is a member of our boys basketball, rugby, and football teams. He also recently served as a teen leader at the JCFS Chicago’s Snowball Retreat—where he encouraged his peers to step out of their comfort zone and experience something new.

This incredible combination with his persistence and extraordinary commitment to academic excellence and sportsmanship makes coming to practice and school everyday a joyful experience for his peers and teachers. His kindness, generosity, and sense of humor makes him unique, both on and off the field.

Charles Williams, Rauner College Prep

This photo is a headshot of Charles Williams, a student at Rauner College Prep. He is a young Black man with short hair. In this photo, he is smiling and wearing a sports jersey over a black hoodie.

Charles Williams was nominated by a group of his teachers and then won a vote of the junior class at Rauner to receive this award. His peers voted for him because he is “kind,” “caring,” “funny,” and a “great student and even better friend.”

He participates in many different activities at Rauner, from our sport teams to clubs. He is a great student, community member, and is more than deserving of this honor.

Sandy Lopez, Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy

This photo is a headshot of Sandy Lopez, a student at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy. She is a young Latine woman with long wavy hair. In this photo, she is smiling and wearing a gray jacket over a black polo shirt.

Sandy Lopez is #2 in her class of 67 students. Sandy has a 4.2 unweighted GPA, 97.5% attendance rate, and 119 community service hours. Sandy is like a quiet storm. She is very quiet as you first get to know her, but her personality becomes alive around her advisory family and friends.

During the most silent and unexpected moments, Sandy often lifts the mood of our space with her quick, witty, and seemingly out-of-character comments. We love you, Sandy!

Asiatu Mustapha, The Noble Academy

This photo is a headshot of Asiatu Mustapha, a student at The Noble Academy. She is a young Black woman with long hair in big braids. In this photo, she is smiling and wearing a patterned head scarf and a dark blue hoodie.

Asiatu Mustapha isn’t just an exceptional student; she’s an exceptional person. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, Asi devours knowledge both inside and outside the classroom, never hesitating to contribute her voice and insights, whether by raising her hand or guiding a discussion. However, Asi’s true brilliance lies in her dedication to helping others. Deeply kind and empathetic, Asi possesses an uncanny ability to sense when someone needs support and readily extends a helping hand.

From her passionate advocacy for social justice to her everyday interactions with peers and adults, Asi embodies empathy in word and deed. She inspires her classmates to strive for more and challenges her teachers to be better educators. Asiatu Mustapha is a rare individual – passionate, unique, and a true embodiment of both academic excellence and outstanding humanity.

Chloe Cho, UIC College Prep

This photo shows a headshot of Chloe Cho, a student at UIC College Prep. She is a young Asian woman with long straight hair. In this photo, she is smiling and wearing a light gray sweater.

Chloe Cho was selected as UIC College Prep’s Class of 2025 Vittum Scholar for her outstanding work ethic, personal character, and contributions to her community, both at UICCP and more broadly in Chicago. In addition to being one of our top students, she is involved in several activities, including the UICCP Math Team, Asian Pacific Student Union, and National Honor Society. She has also given back to the community through volunteering for the Project: VISION program in Chinatown.

Chloe’s favorite subject is math, and she is considering studying business or pre-med in college. She will be a first-generation college student and her goal is to graduate from college and get a good job to provide for her family. The UICCP Community couldn’t be more proud of her!

Check out what their peers and teachers have to say about the winners:

Read more about our students…

We want to write the stories you want to read.

Take our short survey to let us know what you want to see on the Noble blog:

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

We want to write the stories you want to read.

Take our short survey to let us know what you want to see on the Noble blog:

Follow us on social media for more updates about what’s happening on our campuses:

For information about enrolling at a Noble School or employment opportunities please, click below.

Introducing the College Team from Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy
Exploring the Artwork of Two Student Artists at Pritzker College Prep

Ensuring Positive and Equitable School Experiences for Noble Students Across Chicago

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter!

Go to Top