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posted: 12/6/2012 8:04 AM

Education reporter looking for stories

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For the last two years, I have been profiling people in the community about once per week.

I started out covering Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee and Hampshire for the Daily Herald in September 2010. Over the course of the next four months I spoke with volunteers, community activists, a woman who chose her life's work because of her sister's death and someone who lives on a corn, soybean and hog farm in Hampshire with her husband and their 26 kids and grandkids.

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When I switched to covering Elgin, South Elgin and Gilberts in January 2011, I shifted to telling stories about the people in those communities. There was Rise Jones, an Elgin singer who co-founded Hamilton Wings to give low-income youth an opportunity to participate in the arts; Rachel and Aubrey Neville, who open their beautiful 55-acre Elgin property during garden shows each year; John Warnock, a Gilberts man who carves egg shells into incredible artwork; and Alan Wudi, who operates the last manually operated elevator in Elgin at the Tower Building.

I spoke with artists, business owners, city employees, lawyers, a support person for developmentally disabled individuals, a woman who works in hospital interpretation services to make sure everyone gets quality care whether they speak English or not and the man who first thought of Elgin's Avenue of Flags Veterans Day setup. I heard the stories of people young and old from many parts of the community and am so thankful to everyone who shared their lives with me.

Now I'm switching beats once again, and my search for people who will let me tell their stories is narrowing. I now cover education, with a primary focus on Elgin Area School District U-46, Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300, Huntley-based Consolidated School District 158 and Elgin Community College. I'll also be keeping an eye on McHenry County College and districts 301, 155, 26 and 3.

In my first week, I've already met and heard about some of the incredible people involved with our schools, but I'm asking you all to think about who you know. Are there teachers going above and beyond to help their students? Parents volunteering a great deal of time to the schools? Student stars that deserve to be recognized for their work? I truly believe everyone has a story worth telling.

With this weekly column, I aim to talk to members of the community who are doing interesting, inspiring or quirky things -- people who are not necessarily well-known, but whose actions should be.

Call or email me with your ideas. I work Sunday through Thursday and am available at (847) 608-2722 or taragm@dailyherald.com.

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