• Vincent Chang, a fifth-grade student at Herbert Hoover School in Schaumburg, received more than $1,300 in prizes for being the Grand Prize winner, in the grade three-five category, of Nicor's Energy by Design: A Visual Arts Contest for Students. Chang's teacher, Rose Karner, also received the Teacher Award and a $1,000 classroom grant.
On Monday, May 2, Nicor representatives presented Chang and Karner with commemorative plaques and their prizes, which included a pizza party for their classroom. More than 1,500 students from 56 communities across Northern Illinois participated in the contest, which helped educate students about the benefits of reducing energy usage both financially in the home and environmentally in communities.
• Des Plaines Park District assistant superintendent of Parks, Jay Zahn, accepted the position of director of Park Services for the Deerfield Park District.
Zahn began his career at the Des Plaines Park District in August 1989, as a park supervisor responsible for overseeing building maintenance, service contractors and playground construction. In 1995, he was promoted to assistant superintendent of parks. Most recently, Zahn supervised the day-to-day operations of the Oakwood staff, which included maintenance, mechanical, landscape, construction, renovations and upgrades to the neighborhood parks, pools and playgrounds, the park fleet and the coordination of park staff at districtwide events and festivals. He was instrumental in the opening of the Prairie Lakes Community Center and Mountain View Adventure Center in 1992, and the major renovations to West Park in 2010, which included the new ADA (American Disabilities Act) boundary free playground.
• Palatine resident and Harper College student Ray Joseph was awarded the Charles Womack Memorial Scholarship by the Illinois Geographical Society. The scholarship honors geography majors, who begin their educational journeys at a community college.
Joseph, who completed Harper's sequence of Geographic Information Systems courses, was formally awarded the scholarship at a banquet on Friday, April 29. He enrolled at Harper in 2010, following two deployments to Iraq with the U.S. Marines, where he consulted maps and GPS regularly as a navigation man for his section and grew his interest in geography. He plans to transfer to the University of Illinois this fall, where he'll study geography and GIS while also pursuing a business major.
The scholarship is named in memory of Charles "Chuck" Womack, a well-known and respected geography instructor at Lake Land Community College in Mattoon.