Andrew junior makes his voice heard
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent February 22, 2013 3:02PM
Stellar student profile of Salvador Duenas at Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, Thursday, December 6, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media
Updated: March 26, 2013 6:01AM
Who says high school students don’t value the opinions of adults or have the power to make a difference?
It’s certainly not the case with Salvador Duenas, a junior at Andrew High School in Tinley Park.
Duenas, 17, is involved in a long list of activities at Andrew, including swimming, volleyball, captain of the soccer team, student coordinator for Relay for Life, homeroom leader and member of Andrew’s pep club, T-bolt Storm.
However, when you ask him his favorite activity, it is being a member of the superintendent’s student advisory council.
It is clear from his roster of activities that Duenas is an enthusiastic kid with leadership abilities in several areas, but it is the ability to effect change that makes him enjoy the student advisory council so much.
“I love it because we represent the students at Andrew and meet with the principal and superintendent of District 230 on a monthly basis. They ask us our input on various topics and we give our opinions and advice from the student’s point of view,” Duenas said.
“A staff member can only know so much about the students’ experience. So our input is relevant to all the actions the school is taking. We give our advice to the principal and give a lot of ideas as well,” Duenas said.
He points to one example when the voice of the student body changed policy.
“They decided to take away the announcements because they thought no one listened to them. There were a lot of negative responses so we started a petition to get the announcements back,” Duenas said. “We also talked with the principal and let him know what the students wanted and we had the petition to back up our opinion.”
Duenas proudly reported the announcements were reinstated.
“I enjoy student advisory because our opinions and ideas matter. I represent those ideas along with the others on the council. I feel comfortable bringing up issues and there is always an immediate response to fix any they can,” he said. “I feel great about helping out the school any way that I can.”
In addition, he has made a difference in the community as the team director for the school’s Relay for Life, a fundraiser for cancer research. This year’s relay is scheduled for May 10 and 11.
“Whatever I do, I do 100 percent. I don’t just do it to do it,” Duenas said. “I just want to make it bigger. That’s what drives me. I want to make it as great as possible and bring a lot of awareness to it. I’m very competitive.”
Duenas, the son of Adrian and Tania Duenas, of Tinley Park, says his mentor is “anyone who has had an experience I can learn from.”
He said his father provides many of those experiences.
“A lot of kids look up to their father but my father especially has a strong opinion on many issues,” Duenas said. “He is very intellectual about his opinions and when I have different thoughts on a topic, I go to him to get his thoughts. His opinion matters to me.”
After high school, Duenas wants to attend college, then graduate school, and pursue a career in technology, computer science, business or dentistry.