Naperville Indian Community Outreach’s (NICO) primary mission is to embrace, preserve and promote the Cultural Heritage and contributions of Indian Americans while educating them to get involved with the City Naperville. We are proud to announce the 1st Lotus Excellence and Leadership Awards showcasing best of of the best! The 2016 NICO Lotus Excellence Leadership Award is being awarded in honor of our Mayor Emeritus, and is aptly called the Mayor Pradel Leadership Award A true student leader is someone who continuously challenges oneself; is not afraid to take risks; seeks to break barriers, is authentic; seeks knowledge not to hoard but to use; inspires others to follow their example, achieves all round success through integrity, hard work and unwavering focus while helping and mentoring peers along the way. Among this years’ applicants we found Binita Gupta’s application specially deserving, her all round achievements over the last several years include:

  • Gold award winner for National Spanish Exam
  • American Legion Award recipient for courage, honor, leadership, patriotism and scholarship
  • 1st place in a Scholastic Bowl at the Masonic Sectionals Tournament
  • 4 time consecutive Gold Medal winner at the North Central College Sonata Festival
  • Gold Award at the IJAS State Science Fair
  • Student researcher in Cardiology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University
  • Student researcher in Gastroenterology at University of Chicago
  • As young leader she facilitated, mentored and guided IMSA Ethics Program, IMSA Leadership Symposium, Northern Illinois University Engineering Pathways program and also was a teaching assistant at Dr. Rubins Mini-Medical School program
  • Academic successes include an ACT composite score of 35 and a cumulative GPA of 4.7 at IMSA
  • Volunteering to tutor other students at IMSA in History, Math, Spanish, Chemistry and several other subjects
  • A professional piano teacher to a dozen younger kids
Whether it is fine arts, language, research, academic performance, mentoring and volunteering you see Binita leading from the front, working hard and setting an excellent example of an all-round student leader, please join me in congratulating Binita Gupta our first recipient of the Mayor Pradel Leadership Award.   2016 NICO Lotus Excellence Awards in the Arts Category It is said that art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. A true artist finds his medium and expresses ones-self so fluently that other mere mortals are mesmerized by their creativity and resulting art. Art in its purest form gives the human soul a voice for freedom of expression. The Lotus flower is thought to be one of natures’ purest symbol of creation. A true student of art is one who has devoted oneself to a medium, created often and at will, allowing room for mistakes, learning from each resulting expression and continuously seeking to improve in their journey to find the window to their soul. Among this years’ applicant we found two such individuals who specially deserved our NICO Lotus Excellence Award for Art. Nihal Dantluri & Anvita Hariharan. Nihal’s medium for artistic expression is movies and his creative journey to-date includes the following achievements:
  • For his 5 and 28 second, short film “Parallel” winning the:
    • “Award of Recognition: Young Filmmaker 17 and Under” at the IndieFest Film Award
    • Also was successful in getting official selection for the same film at the following:
      • All American High School Film Festival
      • Los Angeles CineFest
      • The young Filmmakers Series
      • The Premiere Film Festival
    • For his 1 minute public service announcement film titled, Stop Littering, made the “Official Selection in the MMEA Film Festival
    • For his 5 minute, 25 second film titled, “Day By Day”, making the “Official Selection” in the MMEA Film Festival
    • For his 1 minute, 57 second film titled, “Personal Reel”, making the “Official Selection” in the MMEA Film Festival
    • Recipient of the Neuqua Valley – Wildcat Pride Award from the Media Dept for 2016, an award given for excellence, and display of dedication to continuous involvement in their school and community
    • His other creative achievements include:
      • Directing, editing and cinematography for two unofficial 30 second advertisements for Bose and Kit Kat
      • Directing, editing and cinematography for a 3 minute 45 second unofficial music video Charlie Brown – Coldplay
      • And several credits to his name as a Cameraman.
Anvita Hariharan’s medium of artist expression is music, especially vocals and wind instruments and her creative journey includes the following achievements:
  • 1st Place in Cleveland Junior Krithi Saxophone
  • 2nd Place in Chicago Thygaraja Utsavam Competition
  • 3rd Place in the International Carnatic Idol Competition
  • Recipient of 14 1st Division Medals for Solo and Ensemble
  • Music achievement scholarship for Band for multiple years
  • Naperville Municipal Band Scholarship for Clarinet
  • Performed with Naperville Municipal Band
  • Awarded top member of Band, top clarinet player
  • Recognized as Baritone Saxophone Player of Top Jazz Ensemble four years in a row
  • Performance in India’s prestigious Marghazhi Masam Festival
  • Performed in nearly 20 plus, 1 to 2 hours professional solo concerts across USA and in India
    • Across temples, weddings, memorial concerts
  2016 NICO Lotus Excellence Awards for Academics Academic achievement can be broadly defined as engagement in educationally purposeful activities, acquisition of desired knowledge, skills and competencies, persistence, and attainment of educational outcomes. Among this years’ applicant we found two such individuals who specially deserved our NICO Lotus Excellence Award for Academic performance. Murugan Narayanan & Yash Agarwal Murugan Narayanan a senior at Naperville Central High School has demonstrated stellar academic achievements, some of those include:
  • A cumulative GPA of 4.6 through end of 1st term of Senior year (A near perfect GPA achievable)
  • A perfect 36 composite score in ACT
  • National AP Scholar
  • Winner of Illinois State Scholar
  • Candidate for Presidential Scholar
  • Winner of National Merit Scholar Commendation
  • National Honors Society
  • MVP at Scholastic Bowl Conference
  • Spanish Honors Society
  • Mu Alpha Theta Honors Society
  • Winner of multiple medals at Science Olympiad at Invitational, Regional and State level
Yash Agarwal Yash Agarwal a senior at Waubonsie High School has demonstrated stellar academic achievements, some of those include:
  • A cumulative GPA of 4.31 through end of 1st term of Senior year
  • A composite score of 34 in ACT
  • Indian Prairie Scholar
  • National Merit Scholar Finalist
  • Winner of AP Scholar with distinction
  • Academic Honor Roll from Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12
  • Research Intern at University of Chicago & publishing a paper on Hematology at the American Society of Hematology



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