Madeline Beja, Hinsdale Central High School
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Parents: Todd and Julie Beja
Sponsor: Lisa Hikes, guidance counselor
Community service: American Cancer Society, fundraising and participation in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk; Susan G. Komen for the Cure, organization of a powder puff football game to support breast cancer research; Christ Church of Oak Brook: mission trips to the Dominican Republic and New Orleans; children ministry leader and teacher at Christ Church of Oak Brook
Personal statement: "My constant involvement does not have anything to do with filling up a resume but rather my desire to pack everything I love doing within an extremely short 24-hour day. Thus, I am proud to say I took advantage of all the opportunities that were available to me. Over the recent years, I have learned leadership qualities and people skills that will serve as great assets no matter where my future takes me."
Sponsor's endorsement: "I have been extremely impressed that she has been able to not just be a member of multiple groups -- she has been a leader and role model."
Parth Dalal, Glenbard North High School
Hometown: Carol Stream
Parents: Haresh and Neena Dalal
Sponsor: Robin Craig, guidance counselor
Community service: Carol Stream Youth Council, oversaw food drive; Central DuPage Hospital volunteer; Carol Stream Steering Committee, teenage representative; American Cancer Society Relay For Life; Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference participant
Personal statement: "Even after high school, as I pursue an Economics degree from a university, I plan on using the basics of leadership to continue changing my surroundings for the better. Aspiring to be in the business field, communication with others, along with proper leadership, is the necessity for success. Outside the workforce, outside the 9-5 stresses, my life goal can be summed up simply to be a better person. As generic as it may be, respecting each other and myself is my ultimate goal in life: to better myself in order to create a better future for following generations."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Parth is definitely one of the most involved students I have ever had in my career. He has been very involved for the past three years in the Carol Stream community."
Marie Gorman, Wheaton North High School
Parents: Stephen and Michele Gorman
Sponsor: Carol McCallum, counselor
Community service: Amnesty International Club co-founder; PADS volunteer; People's Resource Center summer volunteer; Milton Township Food Pantry, assembles and donates treat bags to the food pantry; ESL tutor
Personal statement: "As my high school experience draws to a close, I hope to extend my student activism through studying either political science or international relations at a small liberal arts college brimming with students who value civic engagement just as I do. I'm not entirely sure where this degree will take me; maybe I'll work for a nonprofit organization, or for the government as a diplomat, or as a policy analyst. Regardless, I will forever act as a crusader for human rights and social justice."
Sponsor's endorsement: "There is really nothing that Marie cannot do! Words that come to mind are: driven, meticulous, tenacious, leader, open-minded and innovative."
Edwin Klippenstein, Naperville North
Parents: Stephen and Gloria Klippenstein
Sponsor: Rebecca Wickman, math teacher
Community service: J. Kyle Braid Leadership Program; Freshman Year Information executive board member; Costa Rica mission trip sponsored by the Compass Church; transfer student mentor; First Class Leadership
Personal statement: "Whether I am admiring the finished product of something I have poured hours of work into or being thanked for the help I have just provided someone with, the only thing I want to do once I have accomplished something is go one step further. After a service project I am always left wanting to help more and more people. This perpetual desire to improve results in my dissatisfaction with complacency and causes me to set new higher goals for myself."
Sponsor's endorsement: "He is committed to being a positive role model for his peers and lives in a way that promotes positivity and a commitment to success. He gives back to his community in and out of our school and is a natural leader."
Suzanne LaBelle, Wheaton Warrenville South
Parents: Len and Stacy LaBelle
Sponsor: Julann Ferguson, counselor
Community service: DuPage Convalescent Center volunteer; Wheaton Warrenville South Student Council Executive Board, helped organize a schoolwide donation drive to raise money for local food pantries; St. Michael Catholic Church volunteer
Personal statement: "Having a career in the medical field requires the ability to work as a team with others, as well as the leadership capabilities to teach patients effectively. Growing up in a family of eight kids has instilled in me the value of relying on others using a system of cooperation. I have transferred this idea to the activities I participate in to foster unity through leading by example."
Sponsor's endorsement: "I remember asking her once how she managed such a busy schedule and her academics. With a demure smile she diminished my praise. This simple act of a smile spoke so well of Suzie ... wanting to serve others, not needing recognition for her efforts."
Mary Kate Olofson, St. Francis High School
Parents: Carl and Peggy Olofson
Sponsor: Trudy Rigney, guidance director
Community service: Marian Park Tutoring Program; Confirmation Retreat Program teen leader and planner; Nazareth Farm mission trip participant; helped organize a Halloween party at St. Francis High School for young children
Personal statement: "Through hard work and dedication, I have earned high grades and a place on the 'A' honor roll. But, as I grew older, I discovered that academics are not the only important component of life. It was not until sophomore year that I fully embraced the service opportunities throughout my school and parish. Once I started to dedicate my time to serving others, I found true happiness. It was my desire to use my talents of hard work and dedication toward acts of service."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She has a heart of gold and the attitude of a servant leader. She gets things done while getting along with all types of adults and students. She is absolutely delightful in every way."
Kevin Salat, Wheaton North High School
Parents: John and Diane Salat
Sponsor: Jane Bredrup, counselor
Community service: National Honor Society, organized a schoolwide badminton tournament to raise money for Feed My Starving Children; Buddy Baseball program volunteer; initiated and led schoolwide fundraiser for Humanitarian Service Project; Humanitarian Service Project, warehouse volunteer; Mu Alpha Theta Math Tutoring
Personal statement: "Despite the magnitude of the world's challenges, I will continue helping and giving in my daily life. Today, what that means is helping struggling math students with homework, teaching a disabled child how to hit a baseball, or raising funds and awareness about serious societal issues, such as world hunger. Who knows? The small steps I take today could lead to tomorrow's big leap into making the world a better place."
Sponsor's endorsement: "He is not afraid to take initiative and be a leader. He is respected and admired by both adults and students. He has an unending energy and a constant smile with a great sense of humor."
Colton Seager, Wheaton Academy
Hometown: West Chicago
Parents: Randy and Jymette Seager
Sponsor: Dan Crabtree, college counselor
Community service: Sunshine Gospel Ministries, internship running after-school tutoring programs for inner city students and tutoring in a public school; By the Hand, after-school tutoring and set up a service project for Wheaton Academy that filled 50 boxes with Thanksgiving meals and delivered them to Cabrini Green families; Chicago's Beloved homeless ministry volunteer; STARS disability ministry volunteer
Personal statement: "As I continue to serve and volunteer my time ministering to homeless people and loving the inner-city kids that I tutor weekly, I have begun to realize the purpose for my life on this earth. I believe that God is calling me to go into full-time urban ministry and to specifically work with kids. These kids are at an extremely crucial point in their lives, and I desire to be a positive influence on them."
Sponsor's endorsement: "He truly has heart for others, and he demonstrates a passion to help those in need and make the world a better place."
Emily Sejna, Naperville Central
Parents: Anne and Mark Sejna
Sponsor: Barry Baldwin, English teacher
Community service: Adaptive physical education class volunteer; Children's Memorial Hospital fundraiser volunteer; visited Scott Elementary and Madison Junior High schools to talk to students; Freshmen Leadership Expo; J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation chapter member
Personal statement: "Nursing would provide me with a sense of accomplishment and it would allow me to do something I am passionate about on a daily basis. Each year while I make blankets for the Children's Memorial Hospital, I look forward to the future, working at a hospital ... Being a nurse would allow me to provide comfort and support to the patients I take care of. Taking care of people creates warmth inside of me."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This person takes charge while at the same time allowing and encouraging others to flourish. Whether it is coming up with ideas on how to get high school students to be kind to one another or helping elementary students understand the importance of reading, this student has tenacity to make others' lives better."
Ryan Twaddle, Lisle High School
Parents: Mark and Debbie Twaddle
Sponsor: Erin Kerrn, English instructor
Community service: Faith Lutheran Youth, fundraising coordinator on the group's leadership team; People's Resource Center volunteer; worked with refugee community after traveling with a group to Rwanda, Africa; Eagle Scout, Troop 108, built fences at a local ball field as part of an Eagle Scout project; library volunteer
Personal statement: "One year ago, I never thought I would have accomplished what I have done. The Rwandans have shaped the person I am and created goals and life lessons I will use for the rest of my life. The refugee children showed me the value in education. Volunteering at ESL was my immediate way of sharing the importance of education with children in my community. Each week I can change a student's life by giving them someone to talk to as an English instructor and a friend."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This nominee is a wonderful student who excels in the classroom and has characteristics that shine outside of the classroom, as well."