Glencoe, Community

News Briefs: Wilmette Theatre turns 110; Local Rhodes Scholar; Highland Park Community Foundation grants $785,000 across 63 nonprofits

Close to 150 guests filed into The Wilmette Theatre on Nov. 10 to celebrate the independent venue’s 110th birthday while raising money for its future.

The special event featured live entertainment from the Cello Shots and The Heard, movie trivia, a silent auction, and food and drink.

Program Director Amy Falkowski said the theater can add closed captioning, upgraded lighting, improved projection equipment and more. She said a longer-term project for the theater is to restore and potentially replace the theater’s signature marquee.

“(Nov. 10) was a big success in getting us one step closer to reaching our goals and we’re so grateful and thankful for this amazing community,” Falkowski said.

Isabella Cho, of Wilmette

NSCD alumna earns coveted Rhodes Scholarship

Isabella Cho, of Wilmette, a North Shore Country Day alumna from the Class of 2020, was one of 32 students to be named a 2024 Rhodes Scholar. In October 2024, Cho, a senior at Harvard University, will commence her studies at Oxford courtesy of the Rhodes program.

Winners were selected from a pool of 862 applicants who had been nominated by their colleges and universities, and they were announced Nov. 11.

Cho, an English major, published poet and journalist, is a Mellon Mays undergraduate fellow and a news executive at The Harvard Crimson. Cho was a presidential scholar in the arts, a Yun Family Research Fellow for revolutionary thinking and a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards finalist for breaking news reporting.

According to a news release from North Shore Country Day, Cho is interested in the future of the humanities, campus free speech and constitutional jurisprudence. At Oxford, Cho will pursue education with an emphasis in higher education.

When asked to describe Cho, her former teachers at NSCD all agreed on one word: “brilliant.” 

“She is one of the most gifted writers I have had the pleasure of working with in my 40 years of teaching in independent schools,” said Kathy McHugh, who teaches 11th grade English at NSCD, in the release. “When I reached her paper in the pile, I knew I was in for quite a treat. When she spoke up in class, I knew we were all in for some fascinating ideas and contagious passion. Her character is as impressive as her intellect.

“Izzy had a profound impact on our community through the way in which she modeled what it is to treat others with respect, to engage with everyone, to genuinely love learning, to work to change the world, and to see the value and power of the written and spoken word. She is an extraordinary young woman.”

Cho was involved in a number of cocurricular activities during her time at North Shore Country Day. She was part of the Model UN Secretariat leadership team, editor of the school newspaper, president of the senior class and active in many other clubs and student groups. She played tennis and was involved in theater.

Outside of school, Chos was a weekly columnist for the Korea Times Chicago and the executive editor of Polyphony, an international magazine for youth writing. She also served on the Chicago student leadership team of Facing History and Ourselves, a national organization that uses lessons of history to stand up to bigotry and hate. On top of all that, she volunteered for a number of organizations, including KAN-WIN, which provides services to Asian American and Pacific Islander survivors of sexual violence, and the Korean wing of the Glenbridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

“While many students who approach Izzy’s caliber are consumed by their studies and overwhelmed by stress, she never retreated into her books or made excuses,” said Kiernan Aiston, NSCD social studies department head who taught Cho’s world history class and advised her during an independent study her senior year. “Day in, day out, she remained her smiling, unflappable self — balancing it all with seeming ease, going about her business with a quiet confidence.”

HP Community Foundation 2023 honors grantees

The Highland Park Community Foundation recently awarded 63 grants totaling $784,825 to organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for Highland Park and Highwood residents, according to a release from the organization.

The funding total is the highest the foundation has granted, and awardees were celebrated during an event on Oct. 25.

“We’re honored to have the opportunity to address unmet needs in Highland Park and Highwood. Our grant process is a rigorous and intensive team effort involving every single board member,” said Eric Ephraim, grants committee chair, in a release. He added, “We are grateful for the very generous financial support from individuals, families, foundations, and businesses — as well as the City of Highland — who entrust us to find the most effective organizations to serve our neighbors. This helps ensure opportunities for success and lives of dignity for as many in our community as possible. That’s how our community foundation can be a foundation for the community.”

The HPCF 2023 annual grant recipients are: the 112 Education Foundation, A Safe Place, Anixter Center, Art Impact Project, Arts of Life, Bella Ru Catering, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts, Blessings in a Backpack Highland Park, Cancer Wellness Center, Center for Enriched Living, Collaborative Community Housing Initiative, College Bound Opportunities, Community – The Anti-Drug Coalition, Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Curt’s Café, Direct Giving Lab, East on Central Association, Family Focus HP, Family Service of Glencoe, Focus on the Arts, Glenkirk, GPF Foundation, Gratitude Generation, Heart of the City, Highland Park Community Early Learning Center, Highland Park Historical Society, Highland Park Public Library, Highland Park Strings, Highwood Public Library & Community Center, HP After Prom, HPHS – Estudiante to Student Mentor Program, HPHS – Homework Club, HPHS – National Hispanic Institute, Infinity Foundation, JCFS Chicago Response for Teens, JCYS – Lutz Family Center, Josselyn, Keeping Families Covered, Keshet, Kids Rank, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, Mothers Trust Foundation, Music Institute of Chicago, North Shore School District 112 – Service Learning, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Operation Warm, Parks Foundation of Highland Park, Pilgrim Chamber Players, Roberti Community House, SaLT – Service and Learning Together, Save a Star Drug Awareness Foundation, Southeast Lake County Faith in Action Volunteers, The Art Center Highland Park, Time to Dance, Tri-Con Child Care Center, United Way of Lake County, Uptown Music Theater of Highland Park, Willow House, Working Together, Youth Services, and Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center.

Reflecting upon the impact of The Art Center Highland Park’s grant, Executive Director James Lynch said in the release, “The HPCF is the hub of the wheel for our and other not-for-profit organizations in Highland Park and Highwood. Their support empowers us to add more community-building programs to our schedule and to keep striving for new ways to be current, active, and relevant. We consider them one of our most urgent partners.”

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.


This article was developed using publicly available information, such as press releases, municipal records and social media posts.

Related Stories