Gina Bartindale, St. Charles East High
Hometown: St. Charles
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Parents: G. Michael and Kathryn Bartindale
Sponsor: Mark Pereda, counselor
Community service: Student council, Appalachia service project, soccer coach at camp for underprivileged children
Personal statement: "For two summers, I have traveled with my church to Letcher County, Kentucky -- one of the poorest counties in the country. We repaired homes, but more importantly we ministered to the families, providing them with hope and love. The poverty I witnessed was painful; the despair, heartbreaking. One can read about families that face such adversity and perhaps understand their struggles with their head. However, developing personal relationships with these families and living with them for two weeks allowed me to understand their hardships with my heart."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student has everything: a brilliant, penetrating mind that is always looking for the subtleties of problems, an enthusiastic thinker with rock solid character and a knack for explaining problems and situation with a clear yet rigorous manner."
Kristen Cantieri, Cary-Grove High School
Parents: Paul and Jill Cantieri
Sponsor: Meghan-Marie Kratzke, counselor
Community service: Don't Stop the Music elementary school program, The Uprising Christian youth group, bottle cap recycling program, Interact community service club
Personal statement: "My favorite achievements are the little ones. They are seeing the light bulb go off above my guitar student's head when 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' finally clicks, seeing my grandmother drag over a bag of bottle caps that she collected from all her lady friends at the senior center for the recycling program I started, and seeing a new face at the Uprising youth group who is interested in the fellowship."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Recently, our elementary school district had its music programs cut. This student and another student ... organized an after-school program called Don't Stop the Music for the elementary schools. They planned the entire after-school program with district administration, and with the help of their classmates, they have this successful program up and running."
Ellie Fink, Westminster Christian
Hometown: Lake in the Hills
Parents: Brian and Teresa Fink
Sponsor: Carolyn Palmer, principal
Community service: Mission trip to Mexico, Algonquin Food Pantry, Community Outreach, Joy of a Child
Personal statement: "Throughout the course of my high school career, I have discovered the importance of finding a cause and getting involved. I have joined in a variety of service opportunities such as volunteering at a food pantry, serving breakfast to the homeless once a month, packing meals for families in Africa as well as Haiti, shopping with children during Wal-Mart's Christmas outreach, and participating in mission trips to Mexico. My experiences in Mexico led me to start a global ministry project."
Sponsor's endorsement: "After returning from a trip to Tijuana, Mexico, her sophomore year, she became much more sensitive to those who did not have the privilege of a lifestyle that includes a safe home, access to clean water and an education. Her sensitivity developed into an ongoing search for how to make a difference to those whose needs were great. Her research and conversations led her to the continent of Africa, a place widely recognized for its great need."
Ellen Jakubowski, Hampshire High School
Hometown: Pingree Grove
Parents: Michael and Christina Jakubowski
Sponsor: Terri Mansfield, social worker
Community service: Paws for a Cause, peer mentoring, Elgin Junior Service Board, Relay For Life volunteer
Personal statement: "Many people do not believe they are capable of making an impact on this Earth so they simply give up. What people do not realize is that everything we do, every word, smile, and helping hand impacts others. The smallest effort can make the largest impact, and people can see that every step is just one larger step toward bringing this world together as one; a world filled with love, peace, and happiness."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student has made great contributions while representing her school. As she carries out her variety of chosen responsibilities, she remains modest and sensitive, yet confident and strong. She has a deep sense of dedication and a strong sense of what it means to be a part of a greater community."
Kendall Karr, St. Charles North High School
Hometown: St. Charles
Parents: Greg and Lynda Karr
Sponsor: Janelle VanDeSampel, global issues teacher
Community service: Peer tutoring, Math Honor Society, peer leadership, volunteer youth soccer coach
Personal statement: "A day doesn't go by where my footwear stays the same. I am consistently shaping myself into different roles. I start my day on the move, slipping my feet into a sensible pair of flats. My peers view me as dependable and timely, so I always must dress in reliable shoes that will allow me to successfully power walk across the school parking lot in order to attend early morning meetings on time. Whether I am running a student council or Math Honor Society meeting, one thing that is consistent in my leadership is my desire for timeliness from myself. With the assistance of my faithful flats, I can be the steadfast person that I am always striving to be."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student is a focused young woman whose academic excellence is matched by her work ethic and innate leadership ability. She is a gifted speaker, equally at ease with her peers and adults in the community."
Nicholas Kemmler, Elgin Academy
Parents: Lori and Michael Kemmler
Sponsor: Seth Hanford, director
Community service: PADS and soup kitchen volunteer, Band-Aid fundraiser for Haitian relief, orphanage outreach trip to Dominican Republic
Personal statement: "Whether I was serving food to the homeless in a church sponsored soup kitchen or teaching English to orphans in the Dominican Republic, I learned something new about the plight of those who are needy, and I tried to teach those around me what I discovered. The plight of the poor and homeless is something that must be addressed throughout the world."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Most of this young man's time outside of the classroom is spent in serving others. His adviser summarizes him well when she describes him as having, 'a solid reputation as a very compassionate and dependable person who always tries to do the right thing.' He has traveled extensively for many good causes, having worked for the good of others in Michigan, Maine, South Dakota, Washington, D.C, and the Dominican Republic."
Robert Lauzen, West Aurora High School
Parents: Chris and Sarah Lauzen
Sponsor: Andrew Scharm, director of student activities
Community service: Student representative to the board of education, Student Ambassadors, Principal's Advisory Committee
Personal statement: "I play football for my high school. After my freshman year, I noticed many of the minority students, a large portion of our team, were becoming academically ineligible midway through the season, which crippled our team. Something needed to be done, so I started a program called Gridiron Scholars."
Sponsor's endorsement: "(Lauzen) is currently serving as our School District's Board of Education Student Representative, a post which is held in very high esteem and only one out of 3,400 students at our school can be appointed. After an extensive interview process, he was named to the board and currently meets bimonthly, sits in on every board of education meeting, and voices his opinion on behalf of the entire student body. He is articulate, well-spoken, passionate about education, and intelligent and mature for his age."
Jacob Miller, Illinois Math and Science Academy
Parents: Michael and Renita Miller
Sponsor: Julia Husen, coordinator of academic and college counseling
Community service: Leadership Education and Development, Hebrew tutoring, Spreading Music Around the Community, writing tutor
Personal statement: "The leadership and community service activities in which I have participated during my high school years have taught me key skills which I will, hopefully, be able to use one day to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. By putting complicated concepts in an easily understandable format and incorporating the talents of others, I can fulfill my school's mission statement by 'advancing the human condition.'"
Sponsor's endorsement: "Warm, unpretentious, and articulate are a few ways to summarize Jake. His academic and personal attributes have made a strong mark on the campus of our school. Jake's one-of-a-kind personality, well-groomed appearance, cordial demeanor, and astute persona make for an outstanding combination as young aspiring scholar."
Kacy Rauschenberger, Elgin Academy
Parents: Cindy and Keith Rauschenberger
Sponsor: Seth Hanford, director
Community service: Youth camp counselor, church volunteer, PADS volunteer, Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Personal statement: "Community service means doing what you do best, but doing it in the name of others; whether teaching orphans how to make jewelry, or baking cupcakes to help feed the local community. I believe that I have established a habit of using my special talents to serve others, and ... I will always incorporate community service into my life."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a student who leads by example in all cases; she has done this as a captain of our field hockey program, a community servant who has traveled internationally to make the world a better place for others, a mentor to an elementary school student and an active member of her church. Her humility is an abiding characteristic; she is the last person to trumpet her extensive involvements, and yet she has made a true difference in her community. "
Allison Sleeting, Westminster Christian
Parents: John and Melissa Sleeting
Sponsor: Carolyn Palmer, principal
Community service: Mission trip to Mexico, Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry, Sunday school teacher, Feed My Starving Children
Personal statement: "Friends have asked why I've sacrificed some high school activities in order to lead middle school productions. To me, this was never a sacrifice but was simply a priority I was committed to and passionate about investing my time. The payoff has been the smiles, laughter and joy of the young students achieving goals beyond their imagination. "
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student has shown great self-awareness and initiative by defining and creating the position of Student Director for middle school drama productions, a position she has created and served in over the past four years. Her willingness to step forward and convince school leadership of the need for this position has helped me as a school official, and other school administrators and faculty members, to see the commitment and drive she possesses."