CHICAGO: Mayor Steve Chirico and Mayor Emeritus George Pradel presented 2016-Lotus Excellence Awards to students of Indian origin. The Lotus Excellence awards are an initiative of the Indian Community Outreach Board-NICO to recognize the achievers in Indian American community.
The Mayor Pradel Leadership Award was announced last year at the time of his retirement and is given to a senior with outstanding leadership skills. Mayor Chirico was the chief guest at the event and addressed the students and parents with best wishes. He was happy to see and know that such bright students live in his own city of Naperville. He encouraged youth to take part in extracurricular activities and said that he was so proud of these young bright minds.
Mayor Emeritus, Pradel, was the guest of honor and has always been a supporter of NICO Board and their projects. He commended the students for their hard work and encouraged them to keep following their passion and dreams.
Krishna Bansal, Chairman of the NICO, welcomed the guests and said: “The primary mission of NICO is to embrace, preserve, and promote the cultural heritage and contributions of Indian-Americans while educating them to get involved with the City of Naperville”. Bansal advised students of Indian origin to contribute to community work in large numbers and become part of this great nation.
“The creation of the NICO Board-Lotus Award was inspired by a singular objective to recognize and celebrate achievements of the Indian-American youth and to encourage and inspire the future leaders of our society”, he added.
Saily Joshi, a NICO Board Member said the awards were presented to students who excelled in the field of Academics, Sports, Arts (Visual, Film, Music, Dance, Digital Arts, Painting, Photography, Poetry, Drama, Theater etc.), Leadership, and Community Service. The cash award of $500 was presented to multiple recipients in each award category.
Eligible Students came from District 203, District 204, IMSA and home-schooled children. Ms. Joshi went on to mention the importance of recognizing students for all these disciplines and not just academic achievement. “It is important to encourage our next generation to excel in fields that are traditional to our community”, she added.
Madhur Limdi, a NICO Board Member said: “In Indian culture a lotus flower is associated with many divine beings; you all must have seen the image of Goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus flower while showering wealth on her devotes. It is said in our ancient text, the Puranas, that Brahma created the universe while seated on a lotus flower. The lotus plant grows in muddy water, yet is unaffected by the undesirable elements”, Madhur Kimdi added.
Narayan Tata, a NICO Board Member said that art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. True artists find their medium and express themselves so fluently that others 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 nature’s purest symbols of creation. A true student of art is one who has devoted himself to a medium, allowing room for mistakes, learning from each resulting expression, and continuously seeking to improve in the journey to find the window to his soul.
“Awards of Excellence” were presented to Binita Gupta for her Leadership and overall achievements. Miss Gupta received the first Mayor Pradel Award for Leadership. Nihal Dantluri and Anvita Hariharan were awarded in the Art’s Category, and Murugan Narayanan and Yash Agarwal were awarded for academic achievement.
A large number of people attended the event which included board members, Naperville community leaders, and supporters from the Indian community.