By Mithat Gashi
Two high school students raised money for Vatra Education Foundation. Albert Pali and Ledio Samarxhiu, the only two Albanian students attending Chicago’s prestigious Northside College Preparatory High School, created an Albanian Club to promote Albania’s culture and history among their peers, and raised money for Vatra Education Foundation in the total amount of $433.27. Northside College Prep, a selective enrollment school established in 1999 serving about 1,100 students, is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the number 1 public school in Illinois and number 33 in the United States.
According to Albert, “The Albanian club has 50 members. 48 are non-Albanian.” When asked what motivated non-Albanians to join the club, Pali said, “We were able to accumulate this many non-Albanian members into our club because we always talked about our culture.”
“Ledio and I founded Albanian club earlier because we saw it as an excellent way to give back to the Albanian Community.”
In the process of teaching their fellow students about Albanian Culture Pali and Samarxhiu wanted to fundraise for a cause. They got permission from the principal of the school to do fundraising for Vatra’s Education Foundation. They set up a table outside of the cafeteria and sold healthy drinks and snacks. They set up pictures of Albanian cities from all Albanian territories in the Balkans along with a selection of books on Albanian history.
Pali said, “We set up flags and poster boards explaining what Vatra was and who the Albanians are.” Pali explained that he has a strong interest in Albanian history and that among the books he brought to school during the fundraising event were Historia e Skenderbeut by Marin Barletti and The Cham Tragedy by Beqir Meta (Pali’s favorite).
Ledio Samarxhiu was born in Elbasan. His parents migrated to the United States when Ledio was two years old. He will graduate from high school in in June, 2014 and intends to study Economics and then go for a Master’s in Business Administration. Albert Pali was born in Chicago. His parents are Albanian from Montenegro and Kosova. Albert’s father was born in Ulqin and his mother in Mitrovica. After he graduates from high school in June, 2014, Albert‘s plans are to major in Political Science and then go to law school.
Vatra congratulates both Albert and Ledio for their excellent academic record and for their community service activities and thanks them for reaching out and making a contribution to Vatra Education Foundation. Vatra wishes them both a great academic career at the university level and encourages them to stay active in the Albanian Community and in the student life affairs at the university level.