Willowbrook names December recipient of 88’s Best recognition

Tess Placek (pictured at right, with Willowbrook Principal Dr. Daniel Krause) has been named as Willowbrook’s December recipient of 88’s Best recognition for her outstanding academic accomplishments. Placek, a senior, was recognized during the Dec. 13 District 88 Board of Education meeting. To watch her 88’s Best presentation, click on the video above.

Academic achievements:

  • Completed nine Advanced Placement (AP)/college-level courses and a variety of honors courses
  • Inductee of the National Honor Society (NHS)
  • Inductee of the National English Honor Society
  • Inductee of the Math Honor Society
  • Inductee of the World Language Honor Society
  • Inductee of Civitas, Willowbrook’s Social Studies Honor Society
  • Earned Distinct Honor Roll status each semester of her high school career
  • Recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction
  • Recognized as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist
  • Recognized as a State Scholar
  • Departmental Award winner for Art
  • Departmental Award winner for English
  • Recipient of the Outstanding Freshman Award

Involvement at Willowbrook:

  • Serves as a New Beginnings mentor and leader, supporting freshmen in their transition to high school
  • Serves as a Student Ambassador
  • Volunteers with blood drives and Feed My Starving Children
  • Regularly earns recognition at school and local art shows
  • Member of Band
  • Member of Blue Crew
  • Member of the Girls Volleyball Team
  • Member of the Girls Gymnastics Team

Staff member comments:
“Placek first stood out to me her freshman year, when she would regularly come into the art studio during lunch to complete her art projects to high standards of craft and skill. Since then, she has continued to push herself both creatively and technically as an artist by exploring several honors-level art courses, and she consistently receives awards in our school and regional art exhibits. On a personal note, Placek’s passion for creating exciting and technically challenging artwork through the adversity of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and remote learning was one of the things that kept me energized and positive during that challenging period. At a time when so many students struggled with how to push on, stay positive and keep learning independently, Placek rose to the top and succeeded in creating stellar artwork! Now that we are back in the studio together, I am very excited to see the amazing 3D artwork Placek will create and share with us all at our big ‘in-person’ art show this spring!”

- John Epple, Willowbrook Art Department Head

“Placek is one of the most determined, hardworking and motivated students I have had the pleasure of teaching during my time at Willowbrook High School. In our AP Spanish Language course, Placek leads by example, and her academic achievement is attributed to her solid work ethic. With regard to her language abilities and skills, she consistently challenges herself and strives for improvement, communicating exclusively in Spanish during our class discussions and enriching conversations with contributions that are both articulate and insightful. Congratulations, Tess! You are most deserving of this honor, and we are all looking forward to your bright future ahead.”

- Dmitri Martinez, Willowbrook world language teacher

“Placek is an outstanding student in every sense of the word. She is dedicated, thoughtful, thorough and consistently demonstrates use of higher-level thinking.”

- Mike Sullivan, Willowbrook English teacher

  • District 88 values the hard work and achievements of students and wants to make sure students are honored and recognized for their accomplishments. The District 88 Board of Education and administration created the 88’s Best award to highlight students’ success. That award recognizes nine Addison Trail and nine Willowbrook students each school year for reaching their personal best in various areas. Recipients are honored during a District 88 Board of Education meeting in one of the following areas: academics, highly improved performance, extracurricular activities, service work or performing arts/electives. They receive an 88’s Best glass sculpture and a certificate to a local restaurant.