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Four students named top students by National Merit Scholarship Corp.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School senior Jack Piros has been named a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist, and seniors Undra Pillows, Madison Leathers and Ave Van Til were named National Merit Commended Scholars.

Piros, of Homewood, is among the high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT exam. The National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist group represents the elite 1% of the country’s high school graduating seniors. The designation makes Piros eligible for National Merit Scholarships.

Pillows, Leathers and Van Til each received a Letter of Commendation for their outstanding abilities and potential for academic success in the future as National Merit Commended Scholars. They are among more than 20,000 top students from across the country to be honored.

H-F Principal Clinton Alexander, left, congratulates
Jack Piros. (Provided photo)

Jack Piros

Piros, the son of Ann and Mark Piros, went through Flossmoor schools before entering H-F. He has been an outstanding competitor for H-F’s Scholastic Bowl competition, and has competed in Mathletes. He is a member of the National Honor Society.

Piros hasn’t settled on a college major yet, but he is considering political science or civil engineering.

Homewood-Flossmoor High “is a great school. I really do love it,” he said.

Undra Pillows III
Pillows, of Flossmoor, is the son of Khesi Pillows and Undra Pillows Jr. The family moved from Chicago to Flossmoor during his freshman year. He is a diploma candidate in the International Baccalaureate Program.

H-F Principal Clinton Alexander, left, congratulates Undra Pillows III.
(Provided photo)

At H-F, Pillows is the president of the National Honor Society, vice president of Mu Alpha Theta math honor society, a member of student government and of the principal’s advisory committee. He competed in mock trail during his sophomore and junior years, and he is a production assistant with the H-F theater program.

After examining the affects of the war on drugs and the medical racism caused by its impact on the Black community, Pillows has decided to major in public health.  

Pillows has appreciated his time at H-F and is ready for what comes next.

Madison Leathers
Leathers, of Flossmoor, is the daughter of Laquisha Fowlkes. She went through Flossmoor schools before entering H-F.

H-F Principal Clinton Alexander, left, congratulates
Madison Leathers. (Provided photo)

Leathers has been active in the Zoology/Botany Club, is a member of student government, the Spanish National Honor Society and the National Honor Society. She’s been a volunteer with Operation Snowball, a drug and alcohol prevention program, is a member of Mu Alpha Theta math honors society and the principal’s advisory committee.

Leathers goal is to become a veterinarian. “I’ve always really loved animals,” she said and her favorite animal to take care of for the Zoo/Bots Club is the corn snake.

“In general, I really appreciate the amount of clubs and activities that H-F offers. I think people really underappreciate just the number of things we have offered,” she said.

Ave Van Til
Van Til, of Flossmoor, is the daughter of Julie and Andrew Van Til. She was a student in California before the family relocated.

Ave Van Til

At H-F, Van Til is a member of the Viking Choir and Viking Ensemble. She serves as a teacher assistant for concert choir. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society and the Illinois Music Honors Society. She has been selected a member of the All-District  (regional) Choir.

Outside of H-F, she is on the music team at Flossmoor Community Church, and is involved in the children’s ministry and youth leadership group. She plays guitar and arranges music for the Six of Spades, a female band.

In college, Van Til will major in music composition.

At H-F: “I found such a strong community through choir, I really found my people there, and a really incredible community and (Steve Sifner) the choir director’s amazing,” she said. “I think I got a really strong academic foundation, for the most part all of my teachers are amazing, and amazing people, not just amazing at teaching.  I’m really grateful for that.”

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