Introducing Niles West’s New Student Activities Director: Sarah Struebing


Anna Lusson

Niles West’s Director of Student Activities, Sarah Struebing poses for a photo in the Student Activities Commons.

By Anna Lusson, Staff Writer

As the new school year rolls in, Niles West welcomes a new Director of Student Activities Sarah Struebing. Struebing works closely with clubs and activities all year round in an effort to build better school communities. This fall season, she’ll be busy planning pep assemblies, spirit weeks and Homecoming.

“I’m just really trying to make it so everybody feels like they have a home here at Niles West,” Struebing said.

Struebing is determined to make Homecoming 2022 the best it can possibly be. This year’s homecoming is especially important to Struebing because it will be Niles West’s first Homecoming dance since 2019.

“It needs to be good, it needs to be fun, I want a lot of people to come out for it,” Struebing said.

She urges students to follow @nileswestactivities on Instagram to keep up with all updates regarding Homecoming and all activities going on at Niles West.

In addition to planning Homecoming, Struebing is available and encourages anyone to stop by her office or email about starting a trial club, sharing ideas for different school events, or giving feedback on things in the school community. Her office is located in the Student Activities Commons. “I’m here, I’m a teacher, I’m a resource, I want to get to know kids –  that’s why we’re here,” Struebing said. “I’m really interested in hearing students’ voices and perspectives and like finding ways to get them involved.”

One student at Niles West, junior Sabrina Islamaj, went to Struebing to bring her idea of an Albanian Club at Niles West into reality. “She was incredibly nice and spoke to me like I was a close friend of hers. She’s created this comfortable atmosphere for anyone interested in activities at West,” Islamaj said.

Struebing has also made an impact on her Student Activities Executive Secretary, Barbara Carabio, who plans events, assists club sponsors needs, and keeps track of finances for the department. “I can see that she is a very passionate and driven person that I can definitely learn from. She always has a positive attitude, and comes into work with a smile. She has a lot of ideas that will make a positive impact here at Niles West,” Carabio said.

Not only does Struebing take on all the responsibilities of being the Director of Student Activities, she also co-teaches an orchestra class at Niles West! Her passion for music began at the age of 5. “I’m really passionate about music. I always tell people violin was my first love, orchestra’s my true love – we all have our thing that we love and violin was definitely mine,” Struebing said.

Although she is new to the Niles West community, Struebing has been living in Illinois her whole life. Her dad grew up and owned a butcher shop in Niles. “I think my grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Niles at some point,” Struebing said.

She attended Prospect High School, went to college at Illinois Wesleyan University, and got her masters at VanderCook College of Music and North Park University.

Before working at Niles West, Struebing was the Orchestra Director at Wheeling High School where she spent 10 years right out of college teaching guitar, music theory, and music production. “I was ready for something new but I feel like those experiences like running an orchestra program gave me a lot of the skills I’m going to need in this job,” Struebing said.

Outside of work, Struebing has a passion for traveling. “I really would like to go to Banff in Canada, that’s on my list,” Struebing said. Her favorite travel destination so far is the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Besides traveling, Struebing loves hiking, fitness, hanging out with her puppy Leo, and eating ice cream.

“There’s so many good things going on already that I really want to observe and support the work that’s going on and take the year to get to know the building, and get to know the values, the traditions, and kind of observe this year,” Struebing said.