Sbeih & Herrera recognized for student leadership


ROCHELLE — Wednesday’s Rochelle Township High School end of the year assembly was pre-recorded. Students watched via YouTube in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, but there were a couple of awards Principal Chris Lewis waited to present in person.

Seniors Ayah Sbeih and Kiya Herrera were his nominees for the Illinois Principal’s Association Student Leadership Award for their work with Dean of Students Brett Zick in the creation of the Cultural Reform Alliance.

This pair of school leaders participated in a dialogue with administrators and other students about how to achieve equity and acknowledgement. They helped put in place a group of students who will continue the work they have started next year.

Sbeih will pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. Herrera will prepare for law school and a career in advocacy.

The IPA traditionally presents these awards at a student recognition breakfast which has grown to welcome more than 500 students, administrators and special guests from across Central Illinois to celebrate our greatest assets; our students.

An event pure in nature, it is instructional leaders recognizing and celebrating our next generation of leaders. 

Students are chosen by principals from around the Central Illinois Valley region for their aptitude, citizenship, academics, character and integrity. 

Sbeih and Herrera also received an official 2021 IPA Leadership program highlighting all winners. Active in extracurriculars as well as RTHS athletics, the girls recognized names of some winners from neighboring schools who, because of COVID-19 protocols again this year, are unable to enjoy the IPA breakfast together.