Lauren Sylvia Auster, Lake Zurich High School
Parents: Gordon Auster & Teresa Kocur
Sponsor: Jetta Grano, school counselor
Community service: Girl Scout Gold Award for planning, organizing volunteers and executing three Buffalo Creek Building Murals; organizes and teaches at summer Girl Scout camp; Habitat for Humanity vice president organizing club activities and fundraisers, and responsible for advertising the club to the community; part of PE Leadership group that planned and planted a school garden; member of school's community service Interact Club.
Personal statement: "My Girl Scout Gold Award exemplified that I hope to work with my community in the future so that I can impact others in a positive manner. ... My Girl Scout Award also inspired me to study medicine."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She is truly one of the most philanthropic students I know. In addition to many volunteer hours through Interact Club, she also donates much of her time to Girl Scouts where she was recently awarded the prestigious Gold Award."
Erin Bradley, Lakes Community High
Parents: Ann and Patrick Bradley
Sponsor: Sara English, counselor
Community service: As Nicasa Teen Court juror, recruited others and helped teach new jurors; as AHA resale shop volunteer, worked the cash register, interacted with costumers, priced merchandise, took donations, organized fundraisers; traveled to Australia and to Stanford University with the People to People student ambassador program; served as a Lake County Forest Preserves cleanup volunteer; served as a Caboose Park cleanup volunteer with the track team.
Personal statement: "Being involved has helped me reach my goals of becoming a better person as well as being able to leave my mark on the world I live in. As time goes on, I want to continue setting goals that not only better me, but also the people and communities that surround me."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Initiative, dedication, leadership and a strong work ethic come naturally with Erin. ... Erin is one of the kindest, most compassionate individuals I have met."
Ian Fleming, Carmel Catholic High School
Parents: Terry and Jackie Fleming
Sponsor: Lynne Strutzel, principal
Community service: Led religious retreat for 40 classmates; one of three student leaders of Operation Snowball; one of two students in Illinois Boys State chosen for a weeklong leadership conference at Washington, where his bill on distracted driving was among 12 of 148 to be approved; volunteer for Big Brother/Big Sister program to help transition freshmen to high school.
Personal statement: "Going to Boys State and then to Boys Nation ... has changed the course of my future and shaped the student and the man that I am today. As I listened to President Barack Obama refer to us as 'the leaders of tomorrow, the men that will change the world,' it hit me: that is my goal."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Ian is admired by both his teachers and peers. The faculty appreciates his respectful, cooperative attitude and the power of his leadership by example. His drama coach describes Ian as 'the kind of leader who leads with quiet skills and determination. He is always ready for the next challenge and strives for perfection.'"
Amanda Hermsen, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
Parents: Greg and Julie Hermsen
Sponsor: Douglas DuBrin
Community service: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, led a walk team with her sister, raising $400,000 over 15 years; worked on events with the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association; spending a week in San Francisco doing service work; church Bible camp leader; soup kitchen volunteer from age 5.
Personal statement: "Each and every service type is just as rewarding in my eyes because I'm never dreading a service opportunity, but instead I am counting down the days until I get to see the smiles I bring and the love that is thrown back at me. ... Service is a win-win situation meaning not only am I making a difference in the lives of others, but I am receiving a feeling that beats any feeling in the world."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student is a shining example of what one person can do to move an administration, teachers and her classmates to go out of their comfort zone and really make something wonderful happen."
Michelle Kelrikh, Stevenson High School
Hometown: Buffalo Grove
Parents: Alexander and Alla Kelrikh
Sponsor: Ted Goergen, student activities director
Community service: Founder and president of 75-member Kiva Club, raising $20,000 to help 500 entrepreneurs in 39 countries through microfinance; volunteer at Center on Wrongful Convictions helping attorneys with their caseloads; freshman mentor; volunteer counselor at camp for children and teens with special needs; organized 1,200-person dance marathon to raise money for the Riverside Foundation, a home for adults with developmental disabilities.
Personal statement: "At the end of the day, I want to know that I have made a difference. I want to unite a group of people from different backgrounds with a common passion for a cause. I want to constantly be gaining new perspectives and applying them to the world."
Sponsor's endorsement: "She tackles each task with confidence and an open mind. ... Through her persistence and a personal passion of helping individuals with disabilities, we were able to raise over $50,000!"
Lexi Miles, Carmel Catholic High School
Parents: Peggy and Tom Miles
Sponsor: Principal Lynne Strutzel
Community service: Worked on the Glenmary Farms mission trip; works a soup kitchen monthly at St. Vincent de Paul; head leader of a youth religion retreat; co-president of Carmel's Social Justice Club; helps with the Bunny and Vern Thelen Family Foundation, created by her family to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Personal statement: "I want to make a positive impact on as many lives as I can. I want to be a high school teacher so I can make an impact on teenagers when they are trying to figure out who they are and what they want to be. I want to change as many lives as my role model. I will make an impact."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Her maturity is reflected in the humility with which she leads and the innate ability to challenge herself to make a difference in the world. This young woman proves again and again that servant leadership is a key element of her personality. Lexi recognizes that sharing her gifts is the only way to find true fulfillment."
Kathleen Morris, Libertyville High School
Parents: Robert and Moira Morris
Sponsor: Jessica Noga, counselor
Community service: For Passion Outreach in North Chicago, developed an after-school tutoring program for at-risk middle school students with life skills lessons in addition to homework help; worked as summer volunteer at a food pantry in Waukegan; worked as summer volunteer in materials distribution at Advocate Condell Medical Center; volunteer intern for technological tasks and special events at Passion Outreach; helped plan and execute the Interact club's Wildcat Initiative for Sharing During the Holidays dinner, its main event, for two years.
Personal statement: "I feel that I can combine my love of learning, business skills, and passion for serving my community in order to help improve poor-performing schools with financial troubles in underserved communities. "
Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a positive person who believes that her achievements are directly proportionate to the amount of work she puts into her endeavors. ... Her charismatic personality clearly engages people to follow her leadership."
Kenneth Pechtl, Mundelein High School
Parents: Valerie Walker, Bob Pechtl
Sponsor: Lauren Fagel, principal
Community service: Organized almost 50 volunteers for an Eagle Scout project creating a garden in memory of a member of his church; youth leader, assistant coach and referee of the VIP Soccer Program for teens with disabilities; president of STAND-UP Against Underage Drinking Task Force; a leader of the Lake County Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force Youth Advisory Board; sole youth representative on the Central Midwest District Board of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Personal statement: "My life is where I want it to be, and I am grateful for it. "
Sponsor's endorsement: "He maintains a constant, quiet confidence, making others feel at ease around him. Ken has a gift for helping others in a way that makes them feel comfortable. He never talks down to anyone, and he always goes out of his way to make someone feel welcome. I can't think of any student who has led more consistently, productively, and selflessly than Ken."
Leila Sherbini, Grayslake Central High
Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Yasser Sherbini
Sponsor: John Bolger, principal
Community service: For Key Club, helped create an annual Valentine's Day fundraiser, served as president, and takes a large role in planning the Veterans Day Breakfast, its biggest project. First student representative to the Grayslake District 127 school board. Group leader for the student council food drive. Helps out on various events for the National Honor Society.
Personal statement: "Through a lot of hard work, I've managed to get good grades all throughout high school, while balancing an after-school job and leadership positions in many of the clubs I'm involved in. A lot of the personal character traits I value in myself -- persistence, intelligence, determination -- developed because I took on so much responsibility."
Sponsor's endorsement: "While maintaining excellent grades in our most challenging courses, she has truly made a difference in the school by modeling strong character, active participation and multifaceted leadership."
Allison Tran, Vernon Hills High School
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Michelle and Jayson Tran
Sponsor: Becki Bellito, counselor
Community service: Helps plan and organize fundraising events for her family's memorial foundation in honor of her brother; also plans outreach events for underprivileged children and families. Was president of the junior class, organizing a week of fundraisers; volunteered at a mission trip to Pittsburgh; worked at vacation Bible school.
Personal statement: "Ever since I can remember, my parents have taught me to apply the golden rule in everyday life: 'Treat others how you want to be treated.' At first, I complied simply because they asked. But now, as a young adult, I have come to love helping others on my own."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Allison's experiences with personal tragedy have given her a superior level of empathy, and her desire to help others is evident in all she does, whether it is the memorial fund, student government, fine arts or athletics. She 'does it all,' by making immense contributions to all of her activities while maintaining her poise."