Better News: Tracking Local Olympians in Beijing, Breaking Gender Barriers in Ballet, a History-Making ETHS Freshman and More

In our Better News series, we highlight extraordinary people from Chicago, the suburbs and the North Shore who are making a difference — and headlines — in the process. In this round-up, we are tracking local Olympians as they compete for gold in Beijing, the Dance Data Project’s president and founder is challenging stereotypes in ballet, Winnetka’s Nancy and Scott Santi help LEARN Charter School Network plan for a bright future, and more.

Breaking Ballet’s Gender Barriers

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The North Shore’s Elizabeth B. Yntema, a lawyer, philanthropist and founder and president of Dance Data Project, is on a mission to put more women in positions of power in the ballet world. Yntema, who studied dance growing up and has served on the board of the Joffrey Ballet, founded the nonprofit in 2015 as a global resource for the study and analysis of major national and international dance companies, venues, and choreographic awards.

In the article, Yntema spoke about how Dance Data Project has been able to uncover how serious the gender gap is, by citing the numbers; “Worldwide, the odds that an artistic director of a major ballet company will have a female successor are just 29 percent,” research found.

She spoke with writer Margaret Fuhrer about her ambitions for Dance Data Project, and the encouraging as well as discouraging trends she’s seeing in ballet. Read the full interview interview.

Source: The New York Times

Tracking Illinois Athletes’ Olympic Journeys

The Chicago Tribune has been tracking at least 17 athletes with connections to Illinois in the 2022 Olympic Games, and has the latest updates on our local athletes as they come in.

Some highlights:

  • Megan Bozek, who is from Buffalo Grove, and Jesse Compher, from Northbrook, are advancing to the quarterfinals for women’s hockey
  • Jason Brown, a two-time Olympian figure skater from Highland Park, has finished 6th place in men’s singles
  • Casey Larson, from Barrington, placed 39th in ski jumping and didn’t advance to the round of top 30 jumpers
  • Aja Evans, from Chicago, was named an alternate to the women’s bobsled team

Source: Chicago Tribune

‘The Role of a Lifetime’: A Look Back at Winnetka’s Fay Hartog-Levin’s Time as a US Ambassador

In a fascinating profile, Sheridan Road shares an inside look at the impressive career of Winnetka’s Fay Hartog-Levin. From vice president of external affairs at the Field Museum to an engaged supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, Hartog-Levin later landed “the role of a lifetime” as Ambassador of the United States to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Of her ambassador post, Hartog-Levin told Sheridan Road, “True Cinderella moments, complete with a horse-drawn carriage, and a red carpet for my first meeting with the Queen. I was wildly aware that this very special time in my life, and that of my family’s, was fleeting and would come to an end.”

Hartog-Levin now serves in a three-year role as chair of the board of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Source: Sheridan Road

An ETHS Freshman Makes History by Making the Boys’ Varsity Hockey Team

In a predominately white sport, a 15-year-old Evanston Township High School freshman has made history by making the boys’ varsity hockey team. Not only is she the first black girl to make the team, but it is even rare for any freshman to place on the varsity team.

Sushinksi, who has played hockey since she was about 7 years old, loves the physicality of the sport. “Having people like me in the sport really opens the eyes to so many other people,” she told CBS. “It really makes people love the sport for not only the way people play but who’s in it.”

Source: CBS Chicago.

Winnetka’s Nancy and Scott Santi Chair LEARN Charter Schools Network’s 20 Anniversary Fund


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Nancy and Scott Santi are committed to helping LEARN Charter School Network prepare low-income, minority students for a successful future through a strong college-prep education. As chairs of the Network’s 20th Anniversary Fund, the Winnetka couple is helping LEARN reach an ambitious goal—a 50 percent college completion. 

“We have been doing this work for 20 years. We know our children are brilliant and that the organization is already doing excellent work,”Kristen Denison, LEARN Charter School Network’s Chief of Advancement and External Affairs, told Sheridan Road. “The Anniversary Fund provides us with the opportunity to take that success to the next level.”

While the Santis are eager to help LEARN reach this particular goal, they also hope to create new lifelong supporters of the organization. “We don’t want to foster relationships that are forgotten after a one-time gift in an envelope,” Santi told Sheridan Road.

For more information visit Learn Charter Schools Network.

Source: Sheridan Road

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