The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Brandon Lee Brushes Up On Homecoming Royalty

Brandon stares out across the waters of Lake Michigan.

Senior Brandon Lee won Homecoming Royalty in the Arts Divison. Lee’s experiences as an artistic student led him to this moment.

“I didn’t know if I should [run for royalty] or not. Do I have time, is it a waste? But, I just did it. So I waited until they gave us an email, and surprisingly, I made homecoming candidate,” Lee said.

When the Homecoming Royalty campaign began, Lee decided to approach it with the same passion and creativity he usually pours into his artwork. While others attempted to be funny or cater to the student body, Lee decided to send a message. His video was composed of bits and pieces of his life; he treated it like inspiration and added a unique touch to the election.

“I had to go out there and go biking and go through buildings, the ocean, the forest. There was a message I was trying to get out. In the beginning, I said art is everything,” Lee said.

The video Lee made represented the positives and negatives of the world – both are art. He filmed lakes, Chicago’s skyline and the simple beauties he finds in his life. But he also captured wars around the world, environmental issues and things the average person finds disheartening and scary. However, to Lee, it was still art.

So what is art, really?

To Lee, the arts are about who he is and how he has grown through the years.

“When I first came to high school as a freshman, it was a struggle because of COVID. It was kind of hard to learn through Zoom. It was kind of boring. As time goes by, I have encountered people, made new friends, met teachers. I learned a lot from each class and I have been improving my artistic skills,” Lee said.

While he made new friends, he continued to hold on to the friendships he made in middle school.

“I’ve known [Brandon] for five years. He and I met in Lincoln Junior High, and we’ve been friends since then,” senior Nomiko Shinebayar said. Nokimo sits across from Brandon’s desk as they work on their individual art pieces together.

“Brandon is very imaginative and dedicated to his work. He’s very genuine. He knows what he wants to do and expresses his feelings openly without really doubting himself,” Shinebayar said.

Surprised to find he was the only person representing the arts, Lee was also thankful for the opportunity to run.

During the Homecoming Pep Assembly, Lee was crowned Homecoming Royalty. His victory symbolized not only a triumph for the arts, but also a victory for diversity and inclusion. Anyone with a passion and a vision can make a difference.

Lee continues to share his artwork with others, and intends to continue studying art well into his college career.

“I want to major in art. I would also like to do comics, graphic novels, animation. I want to be one of those authors with pictures and make stories,” Lee said.

His art teacher, John Zilewicz, has taught him for four years, and has encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

“Great kid. Super personal, very encouraging to his classmates. And as a learner, he’s a constant learner. He has a routine; he takes his work home, he works on it at night, he shows great discipline and dedication. That’s what’s been key to his growth as an artist and as a person. He takes his craft seriously,” Zilewicz said.

With his thought-provoking talent and detailed artwork, Lee manages to insert bits of himself into each piece; a hidden, beautifully orchestrated signature. Congratulations to Brandon Lee for winning Homecoming Royalty.

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