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posted: 12/21/2012 5:00 AM

2012-2013 Northwest Suburban Leadership Team

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  • Meet the Northwest Suburban Leadership Team. Clockwise from the upper left: Harmeet Bawa, Palatine High School; Jamie Hillner, Buffalo Grove High School; Samantha Galbavy, Fremd High School; Kaley Wendorf, Elk Grove High School; Lauren Nagle, Hersey High School; Alex Baratta, Hersey; Devi Shastri, Hoffman Estates High School; Jake Herb, Barrington High School; Kylie Mena, Barrington and Mundeep Bawa, Palatine.

       Meet the Northwest Suburban Leadership Team. Clockwise from the upper left: Harmeet Bawa, Palatine High School; Jamie Hillner, Buffalo Grove High School; Samantha Galbavy, Fremd High School; Kaley Wendorf, Elk Grove High School; Lauren Nagle, Hersey High School; Alex Baratta, Hersey; Devi Shastri, Hoffman Estates High School; Jake Herb, Barrington High School; Kylie Mena, Barrington and Mundeep Bawa, Palatine.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Alex Baratta

      Alex Baratta

  • Harmeet Bawa

      Harmeet Bawa

  • Mundeep Bawa

      Mundeep Bawa

  • Samantha Galbavy

      Samantha Galbavy

  • Jake Herb

      Jake Herb

  • Jamie Hillner

      Jamie Hillner

  • Kylie Mena

      Kylie Mena

  • Lauren Nagle

      Lauren Nagle

  • Devi Shastri

      Devi Shastri

  • Kaley Wendorf

      Kaley Wendorf

 

Alex Baratta, John Hersey High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

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Class: Senior

Parents: Jennifer and Bob Baratta

Sponsor: Joseph Pardun, teacher/coach

Community service: Developed classes in math and English, teaching them to children in Ghana; with SOAR, was an overnight camp counselor for a disabled child; in Costa Rica, taught English in a rural school and volunteered in a local orphanage; in the suburbs, tutors high schoolers in math, chemistry, physics; part of Hersey's Service Over Self club.

Personal statement: "I intend to pursue a degree in engineering ... to help develop a program, similar to Project Lead the Way, in developing countries. I have been privileged to take hands-on engineering courses ... I would like to help make similar opportunities available to students like those I met in Costa Rica and Ghana -- kids whose desire to learn is still inspiring me."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I cannot think of another student athlete who has balanced so many important roles, and continues to excel at them all. I have seen him overcome personal challenges, yet always continued on with a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and as leader of our team."

Harmeet Bawa, Palatine High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Bhupinder S. Bawa and Inderjit K. Bawa

Sponsor: Susan Quinlan, counselor

Community service: Has more than 185 volunteer hours at St. Alexius Medical Center; Youth Ambassador for the American Cancer Society, helping organize fundraisers for cancer research; peer mediator, helping students alleviate disputes; volunteers with Sikh Virsa, a youth camp for young children to learn their Sikh heritage and volunteer in the community; volunteers with the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago.

Personal statement: "With my involvement in extracurricular activities and volunteer services, I have gained a deeper understanding of compassion and service toward others. Volunteering in a hospital has ... also broadened my health care knowledge, which has ultimately motivated me to pursue my dream of becoming a physician."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This student is determined, highly motivated and, at the same time, sensitive to the needs of others. He leads by example as he continually looks for new experiences and constantly strives to excel."

Mundeep Bawa, Palatine High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Bhupinder Bawa and Inderjit Bawa

Sponsor: Susan Quinlan, counselor

Community service: Has more than 185 volunteer hours at St. Alexius Medical Center; Youth Ambassador for the American Cancer Society; peer mediator, helping students alleviate disputes; volunteers with Sikh Virsa, a youth camp for young children to learn their Sikh heritage and volunteer in the community; volunteers with the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago.

Personal statement: "Through my volunteer experiences at St. Alexius and the American Cancer Society, I have learned how to further develop my communication skills. As a member of Sikh Virsa and an active volunteer for the Sikh Religious Society, I have realized the true essence of selfless service."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This young man, born right behind his brother, and always by his side, has volunteered more than 150 hours of service to St. Alexius. His life has been focused on the idea of helping people and he leads his classmates in math and science classes to prepare for the field of medicine."

Samantha Galbavy, William Fremd High School

Hometown: Palatine

Class: Senior

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Galbavy

Sponsor: Katie Giegler, science teacher

Community service: Organizes teen teams for Relay For Life; personally raised more than $5,000 for the American Cancer Society; officer of Service Over Self club; volunteer with National Honor Society projects; volunteers at the community food pantry; grows her hair each year to donate to Locks of Love.

Personal statement: "I would like to become a lawyer that supports the victims of human trafficking around the world. I have realized that little things can make a huge difference in a person's life. Just supporting a person who has been abused can help put them back on their feet. I want to use the determination I have now to provide change in a suffering person's life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She has helped to brighten the day of the elderly with carols, collected food for people who do not have enough, and raised funds for cancer research. She never brags about her accomplishments, but when you talk to her about what she has been doing, you can see how much she enjoys all of these service projects."

Jake Herb, Barrington High School

Hometown: Barrington

Class: Junior

Parents: Tom and Wendy Herb

Sponsor: Jill W. Bauer, student volunteer program coordinator

Community service: Founder/manager of Go Beyond Barrington, which raised $18,000 to help Joplin, Mo, did two service projects there and is raising another $50,000 to help build a house for a displaced family. His Eagle Scout project will remodel buildings in Barrington's Safety Town; on the Barrington Area Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee.

Personal statement: "I believe qualities like leadership, compassion, kindness, and courage have the power to change the world when shared with others. I dream of owning my own business, running for Congress and becoming a teacher, but my essential goal is to change lives for the better. My accomplishments are all learning opportunities that make me a more developed leader."

Sponsor's endorsement: "At the young age of 16, this student has already become a leader of both students AND adults. He has reached astounding goals as he founded and led a nonprofit, student-based organization."

Jamie Hillner, Buffalo Grove High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Class: Senior

Parents: Norm and Kathy Hillner

Sponsor: Jeanne Shin-Cooper, Interact sponsor

Community service: Organizes BGHS's Relay For Life and volunteers at American Cancer Society office. On task force for the Illinois State Summit for high school and college Relays. With Elite Soccer Leadership Program, volunteers with 5-14 year olds and organizes service projects. On the executive board of the Interact Club, which finds volunteer events for high school students. On the Class of 2013 board.

Personal statement: "Relay For Life has molded me into a better leader. I have always been outgoing and confident enough to express my ideas and incorporate others into a discussion, however, Relay For Life has taught me how to put a plan into action."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The most dynamic aspect of Jamie is that she continually stretches herself to learn more about serving and working with others. She truly uses her life experiences and converts them into a passion."

Kylie Mena, Barrington High School

Hometown: Barrington

Class: Senior

Parents: Chrissie and Rey Mena

Sponsor: Jill W. Bauer, student volunteer program coordinator

Community service: Leading the Barrington United Way 211 Project to create a database of social services and organizations in the community; volunteer at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital; coordinates volunteers for Barrington Junior Women's Club projects; founding member, Hands of Hope Teen Board, helping people in Africa without access to clean water; helps with Teens For Teens, to help teens in need.

Personal statement: "I believe that we are brought into this world to help one another. Each of us has gifts that can help in different ways. I have two that will help me become a good doctor: compassion and curiosity."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She exhibits a natural ability to connect with others and has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities in this project. Her hard work and diligence have created a data system and framework that will be used by our community's 2-1-1 system for years to come."

Lauren Nagle, John Hersey High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights

Class: Senior

Parents: Bill and Catherine Nagle

Sponsor: Jaime Burns, teacher

Community service: Special Olympics partner/coach, teaching players new skills, and being their biggest supporter. Student leader of Best Buddies; piloted new program, Super Buddies, which also pairs disabled students with mainstream high school students; summer school student teacher for at-risk freshmen; Peer Tutor, student leader on Tutoring Board; volunteer at Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital.

Personal statement: "Over the past few years, participating in hands-on service has opened my eyes, kept me grounded, and helped me realize my blessings. Following college, I hope to join the Peace Corps to immensely expand the types and groups of people I can touch."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Despite Lauren's intense commitment to her studies, not only in English class, but also in her entire menu of AP and honors classes, she donates an astounding amount of time to serve our school and the greater Arlington Heights community."

Devi Shastri, Hoffman Estates High School

Hometown: Hoffman Estates

Class: Senior

Parents: Pranavi Shastri

Sponsor: Katherine Phillips, teacher/coach

Community service: Creator/head coach of project to help three girls with Down syndrome improve their speaking skills and compete at speech tournaments; volunteer for Cupcakes For A Cause to raise money for Autism Speaks and Special Olympics; led a workshop for Special Olympic athletes and their families in making a video about ending use of the "R" word; makes hats to sell for Halos of Hope for cancer patients.

Personal statement: "I have learned that leadership is not about always being up in front; it is about knowing when to take the back seat. My only clear goal is simple -- keep making a difference in the lives of others. Leading a life for others is what makes me who I am. I expect to continue to make a difference."

Sponsor's endorsement: "While I know this student as an avid learner, what impresses me most about her is that she always finds time to work with and promote the talents of other students."

Kaley Wendorf, Elk Grove High School

Hometown: Elk Grove Village

Class: Senior

Parents: Todd and Carla Wendorf

Sponsor: Scott Deutsch, counselor

Community service: Dedicated herself to saving a day care in Guatemala where she worked on a mission trip. Kaley and friends raised the necessary $2,000 -- setting goals, organizing fundraisers, involving others. Also teaches preschool and vacation Bible school for Living Hope Church; a peer tutor at EGHS; student organizer for Relay For Life; volunteer with Bread For Life Homeless Ministries in Chicago.

Personal statement: "My goal to improve the lives of impoverished children has been near to my heart for quite a few years, but since a missions trip I took to Guatemala this summer, it has become central to my future plans. When you go after goals that serve others and connect to your heart, there are no limits to what you can accomplish!"

Sponsor's endorsement: "I have never met a student more dedicated to the betterment of her school, community, and self. She is a truly exceptional individual who gives 200 percent to everything she touches."

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