The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

Best of SNO Stats
2376
Published
Stories
589
Participating
Schools
350
Published
Schools
Publication Tips
We'll be the first to admit that getting your story published on Best of SNO is hard. We receive over 100 submissions per day, and only about 15 percent are selected for publication.

There are multiple factors that come into play when deciding if a story is Best of SNO-worthy. From engaging writing and unique angles to well thought out multimedia elements, more considerations are made than it might look.

If you're having a hard time achieving that Best of SNO distinction, check out our past newsletters to get a better idea of the type of content we're looking for.
March 21, 2024
January 26, 2024
November 16, 2023
March 1, 2023
January 10, 2023
November 1, 2022

Uprise empowers female athletes, building foundations for next generation

Senior+Ava+Le+photographed+portraits+of+Uprise+members+to+show+the+duality+of+female+athletes.
Ava Le
Senior Ava Le photographed portraits of Uprise members to show the duality of female athletes.

Track star Farah Tawfik poses alongside teammates Josce Jelinek and Annabella Murad in their uniforms, with game faces on. Volleyball players Annaya Santos and Moriah Eaddy smile for the camera, dressed up and holding volleyballs. Gymnast Giselle Slagg poses in her leotard and smiles as if she’s scored perfectly on her floor routine. These portraits, photographed by basketball player and senior Ava Le, are part of the Athletic Department’s new Uprise program to garner more support and participation in girls’ sports. 

The portraits portray the duality of a female athlete.

“Women athletes can be soft,” Uprise sponsor Danae Russell said. “They can be pretty, they can wear makeup, they can dress up, they can do things that make them feel beautiful. They also can turn the switch and they can be fierce competitors.”

Uprise started meeting just a few months ago in February. The department noticed a decrease in female participation in sports over the years. In surveys sent out by the department, there was a common factor among female participants: They didn’t feel seen or recognized in their athlete identity. 

Story continues below advertisement

“Over half of the girls that we surveyed said that they didn’t think their teachers knew that they were even an athlete,” Russell said.

Over half of the girls that we surveyed said that they didn’t think their teachers knew that they were even an athlete

— Danae Russell, Uprise sponsor

Being an athlete can be a huge part of one’s identity. Uprise encourages female athletes to embrace it.

“There’s a lot that goes into being an athlete,” Tawfik said. “Women in sports don’t get the recognition that they need. So [Uprise is] an uplifting and empowering club.” 

The club meets every other Wednesday during the late start, discussing various issues faced by female athletes. One of the biggest issues uncovered was the lack of support from fellow female athletes. 

“We posed the question, ‘Raise your hand if you’ve attended, another female athletic event.’ And there was one person that raised their hand. So that was a little bit of a light bulb,” Athletic director Brett Bildstein said. “Like oh, wow, we’re not we’re not supporting each other.”

Often, it feels like female athletes are pitted up against each other, competing for who gets the biggest crowds. Uprise aims to change this by uniting female athletes. 

“A lot of the time,” Le said. “I feel like we’re competing for like the same resources or acknowledgment, but like having [Uprise], this leadership group, it shows that we’re not so different from each other and we’re all trying to fight for the same things.”

I feel like we’re competing for like the same resources or acknowledgment, but like having [Uprise], this leadership group, it shows that we’re not so different from each other and we’re all trying to fight for the same things.

— Ava Le, senior

To accumulate more support, Uprise created a calendar to mark different female athletic events throughout the spring season. Uprise members are encouraged to attend the events of their peers to show support. 

Junior and Uprise member Addison Lockerby has a busy spring season, as she’s on Track and Soccer. That won’t stop her from attending at least one girls’ game to show her support this season. 

“I want to get out to a softball game at least once because that’s the other season [going on right now],” Lockerby said. 

While Uprise focuses on high school participation, the Athletic Department also emphasizes the importance of exposing middle and elementary school girls to sports. Currently, only 49 percent of girls aged 5-11 participate in a sport

“Numbers are decreasing,” Russell said. “Girls are not starting to play sports at a younger age. We’re getting a lot of first-time athletes at high school, and sports were so much a part of my identity.”

The department plans to change this pattern by starting back up an old program, Girls Play Sports, with the help of Uprise leaders. Middle school-aged girls from all over the area would be invited to Niles North to test out different sports to learn what they like, building a foundation and love for sports. Coaches would also run athletic testing to recruit talented athletes. 

The athletic department will continue its journey for a strong and confident female athlete population, adding two new sports next year– Girls Football and Girls Golf. Uprise welcomes everyone to join their meetings to gain the confidence every female athlete should have.

“It’s definitely empowering, seeing female athletes at your school,” Le said. “Demonstrating leadership, drive, and grit.”

This story was originally published on North Star News on April 12, 2024.