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posted: 12/21/2012 5:05 AM

2012-2013 Fox Valley Leadership Team

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  • Meet the Fox Valley Leadership Team. Sitting, from left: Matthew Switzer of Marmion Academy; Ethan Gordon, Illinois Math and Science Academy; Julia Hoyda, Rosary High School and Katie Kull, St. Charles East High School. Standing, from left: Annalise Marie Gaston, Larkin High School; Vito Maglio, Elgin Academy; Siyona Ravi, Elgin Academy; Diana Castillo, Larkin; Kristen Kummen, Marian Central Catholic High School and Amy Arvayo, Rosary.

      Meet the Fox Valley Leadership Team. Sitting, from left: Matthew Switzer of Marmion Academy; Ethan Gordon, Illinois Math and Science Academy; Julia Hoyda, Rosary High School and Katie Kull, St. Charles East High School. Standing, from left: Annalise Marie Gaston, Larkin High School; Vito Maglio, Elgin Academy; Siyona Ravi, Elgin Academy; Diana Castillo, Larkin; Kristen Kummen, Marian Central Catholic High School and Amy Arvayo, Rosary.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Aimee Arvayo

    Aimee Arvayo

  • Diana Castillo

    Diana Castillo

  • Annalise Gaston

    Annalise Gaston

  • Ethan Gordon

    Ethan Gordon

  • Julia Hoyda

    Julia Hoyda

  • Katie Kull

    Katie Kull

  • Kristen Kummen

    Kristen Kummen

  • Vito Maglio

    Vito Maglio

  • Siyona Ravi

    Siyona Ravi

  • Matthew Switzer

    Matthew Switzer


Aimee Arvayo, Rosary High School

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Jesus David and Rocio Arvayo

Sponsor: James Sanders, theology

Community service: Hospital volunteer at Delnor, organized a coat drive and food drive, volunteer coordinator and coach at Our Lady of Good Counsel School

Personal statement: "I have completed almost 500 hours of community service during high school. In 2011, I received the Ted Brattin Civic Award for my volunteer work with various groups. By helping others in a variety of environments, including hospitals, parishes, schools, and special programs, my goal of becoming an endocrinologist and Surgeon General has been continually reaffirmed."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Aimee is an exceptionally bright student whose intellect is matched by her work ethic. She is among the top students I've taught in twelve years at the high school level. More important, Aimee is an exceptionally good person who is genuinely admired by the students and faculty alike. She's a morally mature, grounded, and enthusiastic student who projects a great deal of presence."

Diana Castillo, Larkin High School

Hometown: Elgin

Class: Senior

Parents: Jennifer Green and Roman Castillo

Sponsor: Dr. Jon Tuin

Community service: First Congregational Church of Elgin mission trip, Students Today Leaders Forever, National Honor Society food drive

Personal statement: "My goal in life stems from the person who has influenced me the most, my Grandma. She was the one who took me to my first community service project. I was in middle school, and we worked in the food bank at her church. There was something about leading people through the grocery aisles, helping them pick out some food for the next few weeks, and seeing them leave happier that gave me a matchless feeling of accomplishment."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Despite all of her great contributions to our school, it is her position on the School District U-46 Board of Education as a student member of which I am most proud. Because she brings such a unique blend of intellectual capacity, cross-cultural experience and humanitarian passion, she was selected to represent over 40,000 students on the school board."

Annalise Gaston, Larkin High School

Hometown: Elgin

Class: Senior

Parents: Mark and Lisa Gaston

Sponsor: Denise Hayes

Community service: Students Today Leaders Forever, Larkin's annual fundraiser to help a person with medical debt, St. Thomas More Church Youth Ministry Team

Personal statement: "This past winter I had the remarkable experience of joining a Students Today Leaders Forever service tour. Four days were spent traveling to our destination in Nashville, Tenn., making stops along the way to help others. These service projects included visiting a nursing home to engage patients in activity and conversation, visiting an animal shelter, and visiting a food pantry to help sort and allocate food to hundreds of people in need."

Sponsor's endorsement: "For the last three years, she has given countless hours in our unique, annual schoolwide fundraiser. The proceeds go to a seriously ill student or family relation of one of our own students. It is an enormous undertaking, involving not only that day, but four months of planning and preparation. She has been selected to lead this 2013 endeavor."

Ethan Gordon, Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown: Buffalo Grove

Class: Senior

Parents: Lauren and David Gordon

Sponsor: Jim Gerry, chief information officer

Community service: Titan Robotics FIRST Team, Advanced Computer Association, Student Computing Services, technology coach at Ivy Hall School

Personal statement: "While I have had a variety of different opportunities, they all have one thing in common. All of my activities have allowed me to explore my passion for STEM and inspire that passion in my peers. That is what I love to do, now and for the rest of my life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I have worked with students for over 30 years and Ethan is one of the absolute top students I have come to know. Ethan possesses a combination of excellent traits that are almost impossible to find in one person. He is a leader, extremely agile and quick learner, open minded, possesses deep levels of technical knowledge in computers and networking, demonstrates unparalleled problem solving skills and is people oriented. For a very technical and mathematical mind, he has advanced understanding and compassion for fellow human beings."

Julia Hoyda, Rosary High School

Hometown: Sugar Grove

Class: Junior

Parents: Catherine and David Hoyda

Sponsor: Lisa Sustersic, counselor

Community service: Girl Scouts Silver Award, FVSRA Farm Encounter, Camp WOW Holy Angels Parish, vacation Bible school volunteer

Personal statement: "If you can picture a person on their feet for about six hours, occasionally running, yelling, playing games, and sometimes cooking food for up to 40 people, then you can picture a Girl Scout Day Camp Aide. I have been an aide at various camps for five years. It definitely is an exhausting week, but I am continually humbled by the love and respect these girls give me."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I am unceasingly impressed and touched by the work that she has done with the developmentally disabled population. It is easy to give an afternoon or a day here or there to fulfill a community service requirement or to give yourself a 'warm fuzzy,' but Julia's work with this population is more personal. She has recognized a need within this community, and rather than looking to someone else to fill it, has decided 'why not me?'"

Katie Kull, St. Charles East High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Jim and Jennie Kull

Sponsor: Sheila Vining

Community service: H.O.P.E. Leadership/Advisory Team, National Honor Society president, Fox Valley Presbyterian Church Worship Renewal Grant Team

Personal statement: "Ten years from now, whether I start my own organization or spend years of my life dedicated to service, I know that I will try my very best to improve humanity. My life will continue to be meaningful because I know that I have a greater responsibility on this earth than to be self-centered and to only try to benefit myself. My accomplishments have taught me that I have the power to lead and to use my talents, beliefs, and my strong faith to aid other people."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The qualities of leadership, brilliant intellect, creativity, warm and caring demeanor and talent that Katie possesses are rare. As a counselor for the past 25 years I can truly say that Katie, hands down, is one of the most outstanding students I have ever encountered. Katie's future success will not be a surprise to me."

Kristen Kummen, Marian Central Catholic

Hometown: Lake in the Hills

Class: Senior

Parents: Deborah and Leon Kummen

Sponsor: Rebecca Reed, counselor

Community service: Key Club, student government, Kairos retreat team leader, serving at Loaves and Fishes

Personal statement: "I couldn't imagine my life without helping others -- I'm actually pursuing a career to further achieve that. My goal is to use my education to attain a degree as a biomedical engineer and build customized devices for special health or research needs. Also, I'd like to volunteer for a nonprofit organization called World Medical Relief which distributes surplus medical supplies to countries where they are needed most, such as Philippines and Haiti."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is more than just her academics. She is a truly superlative individual, one who is caring, compassionate, and a very well-rounded young woman. She is highly respected by both her peers and the faculty at our school for who she is. She lives by a set of high moral standards. She always puts the welfare of others before herself. She leads others by her fine example and will be a very positive asset to any college or university community."

Vito Maglio, Elgin Academy

Hometown: South Elgin

Class: Senior

Parents: Vito and Mary Maglio

Sponsor: Sharon Williams, counselor

Community service: Walcamp Outdoor Ministry, soup kitchen volunteer, Outreach 360 ministry trip to Dominican Republic, peer tutoring

Personal statement: "Ultimately, I want to pursue three things that I love: chemical engineering, research, and serving others. I want to use my education to help figure out problems that I have encountered in my time at Walcamp; problems such as autism, obsessive compulsion disorder, severe anxiety, and depression. My dream is to be part of the scientific and medical research that finds a cure for Huntington's disease (which runs in my family, and I do not want others to have it to suffer like some in my family have had to suffer)."

Sponsor's endorsement: "He is known throughout our school for his exuberance. Any activity in which he participates receives his full attention, and he has learned through trial and error the value of balance as he strives to never fall short of his obligations. He is the student that activity sponsors hope will volunteer to participate."

Siyona Ravi, Elgin Academy

Hometown: Algonquin

Class: Senior

Parents: Prabha Ravi and Ravi Gopalan

Sponsor: Sharon Williams, counselor

Community service: Founder of Art For a Cause Club, Delnor Hospital volunteer, Changing Children's World Foundation, Outreach 360

Personal statement: "When I was 6, my family moved from our home in New Delhi to Chicago. My passion for service was first sparked by my visits back to India as a child. All around me I saw children of my own age who were much less fortunate. This made me even more aware and grateful for the opportunities I have been given in life, and my desire to make a difference became strong."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Her concern for the welfare of children spurred her internship with the Changing Children's Worlds Foundation as well her three- year participation in our spring break service trip to work with orphans in the Dominican Republic. Serving breakfast at a homeless shelter, registering patients at a women's clinic, or picking up plastic bottles and paper for recycling are all manifestations of her genuine concern for these issues. "

Matthew Switzer, Marmion Academy

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Ron and Diane Switzer

Sponsor: Daniel Thorpe, director of college guidance

Community service: Lazarus House, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, Feed My Starving Children

Personal statement: "My accomplishments in the community reflect the value I place on promoting social justice. The passion ignited at the end of sophomore year with a mission trip to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, through school with Habitat for Humanity. Poverty ran rampant through the streets and my modest effort could only help one family have a home."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Our candidate is the most mature, articulate and classy student we have this year and one of the most personable I have ever worked with. His people skills are just so amazing. He is confident, kind; easygoing yet maintains attention to detail. He is the kind of student that both academic and nonacademic people want to be around because he is just so polished. As a leader, his warmth of personality causes others to become involved, take his direction and be motivated."

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