Fox Valley Leadership Team, 2016-2017

Ivana Dulanto, Cary-Grove High School

Hometown: Cary

Class: Senior

Parents: Carlo Dulanto and Olga Kostiuk

Sponsor: Susan Nelligan, English teacher

Community service: NISRA volunteer, CG Buddies, Interact Club, junior high small group leader at Willow Creek

Personal statement: "For many, Sundays are the lazy day of the week. It's the day to catch up on sleep, homework, and binge-watch Netflix, but for me, it's actually quite the opposite. For the past three years, I have been waking up every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. to be a small group leader for junior high girls at my church's junior high ministry, Elevate. This responsibility is one that I do not take lightly. I put all my effort in to make sure my group of girls, whom I have grown to know and love, have a unique environment to be themselves, explore their faith, and share their struggles."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Ivana is the real deal, a game-changer, the woman who I will read about in the future and what she has done and is doing and feel pride knowing she passed through my door on her way to greatness. Please understand that I am not exaggerating."

Henry Feldhaus, Aurora Central Catholic High School

Henry Feldhaus, Aurora Central Catholic

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Tony and Meg Feldhaus

Sponsor: Bridget Buckley, director of guidance

Community service: Boy Scouts of America, Key Club, National Honor Society, ROCK Mission Team, St. Peter's Barn Sale

Personal statement: "Joining the ROCK Mission Team was possibly one of the most powerful decisions I have ever made, because I have been exposed to so many different people and environments that I have been taught not to take what I have for granted. No other volunteer experience has had such the same impact as seeing an elderly lady literally living in white grocery bags to keep her warm."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Henry is one of the most well-rounded, intelligent, and conscientious students I have worked with in my career. He has accomplished many amazing things, but his character is really what makes him stand out. He is genuinely kind, global-minded, and truly cares about bettering his environment for the good of everyone."

Jacob Fiedler, Marian Central Catholic High School

Jacob Fiedler, Marian Central Catholic

Hometown: Crystal Lake

Class: Senior

Parents: Howard and Maureen Fiedler

Sponsor: Rebecca Reed, guidance director

Community service: Retreat Team Leader, Freshman Mentor, National Honor Society, tutoring director

Personal statement: "Tutoring is my favorite type of volunteering, which is why I have spent the most time working on it. Even though I am focusing more on the administrative side of tutoring this year, I will not be able to replace the feeling I get from watching a one-on-one session bring about real improvement in a person's confidence. That is why I still am tutoring the most people, and I will always sub for someone if they cannot make it to a meeting."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This year Jacob serves as the head of tutoring for the National Honor Society. He truly embraces his position as head of tutoring and always gets excited when more tutoring requests are received for him to organize. He feels it is a sign that the program is successful if tutors are being requested. He is truly concerned about both the students needing tutoring and the tutors themselves."

Jessica Freese, Hampshire High School

Jessica Freese, Hampshire High School

Hometown: Pingree Grove

Class: Senior

Parents: Scott Freese and Maria Gash

Sponsor: Kristina Wade, counselor

Community service: NISRA volunteer, Advocate Sherman Hospital volunteer, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "Peer tutoring and Student Ambassadors taught me take initiative and lead by example because if you always do your best, you will automatically inspire others to do the same. I learned in peer tutoring to often use active listening, which requires the student to repeat their knowledge back to me because it shows how much I value his or her opinion. It also builds trust and rapport with the student."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Jessica has extended herself into her school and the larger community more than any other student with whom I have worked during my career. Jessica is volunteering at the local hospital, special education recreation center and is on our peer jury that meets after hours. As Jessica was making these great contributions to both her high school and home community, she was also working a few part-time jobs."

Kristi Isola, Cary-Grove High School

Kristi Isola, Cary-Grove High School

Hometown: Cary

Class: Junior

Parents: Brian and Kaye Isola

Sponsor: Matt Berg, counselor

Community service: Interact Club, Better Buddies, Girls Learn International

Personal statement: "Within Better Buddies there are students all over the autistic spectrum, from low-functioning students who are nonverbal, to high-functioning students who struggle socially. Through this club I was given the opportunity to help out with the physical education class for the lower-functioning students. As a part of this class I am partnered up with a highly autistic student who is nonverbal. Also during the school day, I work with another student who has similar disabilities as well."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I am honored to be writing this letter of recommendation for Kristi. I have had Kristi on my caseload for the past three and a half years and had opportunities to work with her as an academic adviser and as a softball coach. Kristi is an intelligent, mature, disciplined, and thoughtful young lady. Based on the many hours I have spent with her, I am secure in giving her my highest recommendation."

Grace Keegan, Geneva Community High School

Grace Keegan, Geneva High School

Hometown: Geneva

Class: Senior

Parents: Steve and Linda Keegan

Sponsor: Emily Doty, counselor

Community service: UNICEF volunteer, Delnor Hospital volunteer, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "I have dedicated my current resources to … improving society internationally by founding a UNICEF Club at my high school. As a student-run organization that works to fundraise, educate, and advocate for the children UNICEF supports around the world, our club has benefitted needy children with lifesaving nutrition, clean water, shelter, vaccinations, education, and disaster relief. Our goal is to awaken the community to greater humanitarian crises, helping alleviate the needs of others in less fortunate circumstances."

Sponsor's endorsement: "As just a 15-year old student, Grace gathered a few friends and formed the UNICEF group at our school because she is passionate about raising awareness within her community. Grace is a student who continues to impress me with her generosity and global perspective, and I cannot wait to see where her talents and passions take her in the future."

Claire Miller, St. Charles North High School

Claire Miller, St. Charles North High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Rodney and Patricia Miller

Sponsor: Karen Porter, scholarship coordinator

Community service: Make a Difference St. Charles volunteer, Team Polaris, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "Feed My Starving Children is an organization that packs lifesaving meals for impoverished communities in over 52 countries in the world. About a year ago, I decided to organize a FMSC MobilePack event in my community. This undertaking has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I felt passionate about getting my community and peers involved in this life-changing organization, but quickly learned that raising $25,000 and getting over 500 members of my community to sign up to pack 100,000 meals was not going to just happen on its own."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Claire loves people and you can tell by the jobs she holds outside of school. She works with senior citizens at the Pine View Nursing Home as well as helping kids who have basic motor function disabilities at 'OrthoKids' with weekly in-swimming pool assistance ... and they all love her sweet smile and infectious enthusiasm."

Maria Morales, Elgin High School

Maria Morales, Elgin High School

Hometown: Elgin

Class: Junior

Parents: Katherine Alvarez

Sponsor: Cristina Cabrera, English teacher and Gifted and Talented Academy director

Community service: Community Crisis Center, Youth United Way of Elgin, Interact Club

Personal statement: "I want to study international relations so I can understand the dynamics of the world in order to holistically look at the world and make a difference. Volunteering is very important to me because I get to see firsthand how it impacts the lives of others."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Maria is an intrinsic part of Youth United Way of Elgin where she serves as the volunteer coordinator for the Community Crisis Center volunteers. The Community Crisis Center is an organization whose mission is to assist women and children who are escaping violent home situations. The volunteers Maria coordinates take time once or twice a week to go to the Crisis Center to interact with the children currently living there and offer help with homework, tutoring, and positive play."

William Tong, Illinois Math & Science Academy

William Tong, Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown: Bolingbrook

Class: Senior

Parents: Xingcun Tong and Dali Shi

Sponsor: Julia Husen

Community service: Online/Skype English teacher to students in China, peer tutor, Writing Center volunteer

Personal statement: "(While teaching English online) I met a student - the daughter of a Cambodian refugee, she was abandoned by both her parents, leaving her with no support, no citizenship, no means of affording an education. It was the kind of story you'd hear on the news, but it isn't until you see it up close that it hits you - the fact that I can attend school without wondering if I'll go hungry tonight, but she can't. I donated my earnings through the Bureau of Education to cover her expenses through the next two years of high school."

Sponsor's endorsement: " Although (he is not) one to seek the limelight, people listen when William speaks. William has a trustworthiness that grants him intrinsic leadership among his peers - his opinions are well thought out and always hold weight."

Peter J. Williams, Harvest Christian Academy

Peter Williams, Harvest Christian Academy

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Thomas and Patricia Williams

Sponsor: Jackyln Enger, history teacher

Community service: Student Council president, Kids Hope America mentor, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "Being a leader is learning to be a servant to others. My mission as a leader is to serve the others around me so I can learn how to be a better leader and servant. I think it's crucial to humble yourself and realize that as a leader you are not better than anyone else - you are just in a position to help guide everyone else."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Peter is a leader who genuinely enjoys the role. He doubled the size of student council by personally reaching out to students and inviting them to events and encouraging them to join. With the help of our student council vice president, he reorganized the layout and responsibility of student council positions. Furthering his role with student government he will be participating in Illinois Sen. Karen McConnaughay's Youth Advisory Council."

Honorable mentions: Fox Valley Leadership Team, 2016-2017

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