2014-2015 Fox Valley Leadership Team

  • Meet the 2014-2015 Fox Valley Leadership Team. From left: Korey Hughes of Dundee-Crown High School, Cassie Kemmler of Elgin Academy, Ryan Stackhouse of St. Charles East High School, Courtney Reynolds of Geneva High School, Hunter Sneed of Geneva High School, Madison Taylor of Rosary High School, Parth Patel of Huntley High School, Erin Tevonian of Batavia High School, and Carter Dell of Burlington Central High School, in the Gail Borden Library in Elgin. Not present: Lindsey Vanden Bos of Westminster Christian High School.

    Meet the 2014-2015 Fox Valley Leadership Team. From left: Korey Hughes of Dundee-Crown High School, Cassie Kemmler of Elgin Academy, Ryan Stackhouse of St. Charles East High School, Courtney Reynolds of Geneva High School, Hunter Sneed of Geneva High School, Madison Taylor of Rosary High School, Parth Patel of Huntley High School, Erin Tevonian of Batavia High School, and Carter Dell of Burlington Central High School, in the Gail Borden Library in Elgin. Not present: Lindsey Vanden Bos of Westminster Christian High School. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 1/7/2015 2:59 PM

Carter W. Dell, Central High School
Carter W. Dell, Central High School -
Carter W. Dell, Burlington Central High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Tim and Jacki Dell

Sponsor: Arlene Knewitz

Community service: Eagle Scout service project, National Youth Leadership Training, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "My leadership skills were honed during my ... Eagle Scout Service Project. The task I chose was to work with a local government group on adding custom designed benches and a structured pit for fires to a local park. While working on this project, I learned not only technical skills required to envision and construct the new amenities on my own, but also many leadership ethics."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Carter has been involved in creating new ways for students in our school community to join together and make a difference since entering our doors four years ago. As a freshman, his love of the environment led him to join with another student to petition the school to start a bass fishing team, the Bass Kickers. The team is small but home to students who have found a special niche and take pride in representing our school. Carter (also is) one of the founding members and the current president of our school Diversity Club."

Korey Hughes, Dundee-Crown High School
Korey Hughes, Dundee-Crown High School
Korey Hughes, Dundee-Crown High School

Hometown: Carpentersville

Class: Senior

Parents: Kim Gonzales

Sponsor: Gail Blanchard, guidance counselor

Community service: Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, National Honor Society, student council, cheerleading captain

Personal statement: "Becoming a "Big" in the Big Brother Big Sister program has helped me to understand the importance of one-on-one time with an individual. That is who I wanted to be: a mentor to kids out in the street, a role model kids look up to because I am active in lots of activities, get good grades, and work to be the best I can be. Being in the Big Brother Big Sister program helped me come to the conclusion that I want to be an elementary education major in college. I have a strong, fiery passion for kids and their education."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The single quality that best characterizes Korey's leadership skill has to be his passion for people. Always kind, perpetually smiling, Korey is everybody's friend. He's the type of guy who stomps out bullying by silently demonstrating that it's OK to be different, cool to be caring."

Cassie Kemmler, Elgin Academy
Cassie Kemmler, Elgin Academy
Cassie Kemmler, Elgin Academy

Hometown: Elgin

Class: Senior

Parents: Michael and Lori Kemmler

Sponsor: Doug Sept, principal

Community service: Community soup kitchen team leader, mission and outreach trips to Nicaragua and West Virginia, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Personal statement: "Everything I need to know about life I have learned through service. I learned that bitterness is unproductive, and that forgiveness in the present and in the future keeps you from being dragged down by the irreversible wrongs of the past. I learned that even a change in a single word can alter a perspective forever. I learned that it is important to be open to help. More than anything, I learned that service has served me more than anything else ever could."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Beyond simply participating in the bi-weekly Elgin Community Soup Kitchen, she is our coordinator for this activity. Cassie is solely responsible for recruiting and scheduling volunteers. Additionally, she oversees fundraisers at school that involve students making soup at home and bringing it to school to serve at lunch for a donations several times a year."

Parth Patel, Huntley High School
Parth Patel, Huntley High School
Parth Patel, Huntley High School

Hometown: Huntley

Class: Senior

Parents: Prakash and Pravina Patel

Sponsor: Matt Liberatore

Community service: Sherman Hospital volunteer, OMNI Northern Illinois Youth Leadership conference, Pranami Youth Temple dinner server, tutor

Personal statement: "Being a volunteer has been the best occupation I could ever have -- it is symbiotic to love. It is a state of being, a concept that connects people together and creates this thing that people dictate is community. We are all human and we all need help at times. When a person volunteers, the action evokes a sense of empathy and a sense of purpose. It creates a connection between our own existential selves and those around us. The people we meet all shape the monolithic rock that is our destiny and our future."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This is a student that without doubt will change the world and I do not say that lightly. Never have I seen a student so driven. On top of his full load of classes, Parth wants to be a doctor, and he has taken it upon his own to take five additional independent study courses from MIT and Yale. He is the definition of curious learner in my book."

Courtney Reynolds, Geneva High School
Courtney Reynolds, Geneva High School
Courtney Reynolds, Geneva Community High School

Hometown: Geneva

Class: Senior

Parents: Craig and Barbara Reynolds

Sponsor: Cindy Kovach, counselor

Community service: Confirmation retreat leader at church, Teens With Character leader, student council president, National Honor Society

Personal statement: "Over the past seven years I have led a program called Sleep Out Saturday, which helps to raise awareness and money for the homeless. All participants commit to sleeping outside in a cardboard box on a night in November. In the morning we have all the participants write about their experience of sleeping outside in the cold. ... Knowing that I may have changed someone's heart, who in turn will work hard to help others who are struggling with homelessness, is so rewarding."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In all of the ways Courtney has served her school and community, it has been done for no less than 3 years -- illustrating the depth of commitment to which she approaches these opportunities. Courtney is not a joiner but a doer!"

Hunter Sneed, Geneva High School
Hunter Sneed, Geneva High School
Hunter Sneed, Geneva Community High School

Hometown: Geneva

Class: Senior

Parents: Amy and Barry Sneed

Sponsor: Victoria Holbrook, counselor

Community service: Technology work and website updates for nonprofit organizations, Blue Crue spirit section

Personal statement: "Being an entrepreneur is something that has always been very important to me. I love the hustle, grit, and grind that is associated with starting a business. I also enjoy helping people on a daily basis. Due to my unique skill set, I have been given some excellent opportunities to work with local as well as international organizations."

Sponsor's endorsement: "One of Hunter's most recent endeavors has been to restore school spirit by establishing the Blue Crue. This newly formed organization promotes school spirit by creating a student fan base at home sporting events. T-shirts that were designed by Hunter and another student were sold to students, parents and staff raising over $2,000. Proceeds from the sale were used to purchase 30-foot banners, fatheads and other materials. Due to Hunter's initiative and leadership, Blue Crue has become an organized club at our high school."

Ryan Stackhouse, St. Charles East High School
Ryan Stackhouse, St. Charles East High School
Ryan Stackhouse, St. Charles East High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Robert and Kelly Stackhouse

Sponsor: Lisa Cole, counselor

Community service: Peer Leadership, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, middle school tutoring

Personal statement: "The time that I have invested in tutoring, mentoring, captaining, serving, guiding and leading have made me realize while I have been fortunate to enjoy certain skills, advantages, opportunities and other blessings, there are many people that are not as fortunate. Through my volunteerism, I have learned that the best way I can give back is by helping students achieve their potential using the skills I have been blessed with."

Sponsor's endorsement: "What stands out to me most about Ryan is his involvement and leadership inside and outside of school. He has great strength as a leader and has the unique ability to draw out the best in his peers. He is personable, responsible, and accepting of others. He positively encourages everybody whether in the classroom or on the field. ... His soccer coach notes how he can encourage and motivate everyone on the team from the best player to the players on the bench."

Madison Taylor, Rosary High School
Madison Taylor, Rosary High School
Madison Taylor, Rosary High School

Hometown: Sugar Grove

Class: Senior

Parents: Richard and Melissa Taylor

Sponsor: Edie Branom, counselor

Community service: Between Friends Food Pantry, food drive, Crayons For Kids, Feed My Starving Children

Personal statement: "Being a volunteer not only taught me how to set realistic goals, but it also gave me a purpose. Volunteer service opened my eyes to the immense potential I have in life to help people; it sat me down and made me see. I cannot describe the gratitude I have for the people in my life who surround me with love and encourage me to pursue my constant stream of new goals. In the future, I hope to organize a worldwide corporation aimed at helping those who cannot provide for themselves."

Sponsor's endorsement: "I am impressed and moved by the work that Madison has done with and on behalf of the less fortunate. Not only is she one of their strongest advocates, but she has also found, through helping them, her God-given gifts and her life's passion. Far beyond any accolades that she has received, she is motivated, I believe, by a genuine compassion and desire to help others."

Erin Tevonian, Batavia High School
Erin Tevonian, Batavia High School
Erin Tevonian, Batavia High School

Hometown: North Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Kris and Greg Tevonian

Sponsor: Marnie Heim

Community service: Key Club president, Honey Rock Camp, Interact Club Ghana service trip, food drive

Personal statement: "I have worked on many different projects with all types of people throughout high school. One of the first events that showed me the power of volunteering was helping with Early Childhood Education Night at a school near me. We helped care for and play with special-needs children while the parents were in meetings. I saw for the first time the importance of joy in the face of adversity. The children were happy with the littlest things, the other volunteers were genuinely happy to help, and the parents were incredibly grateful."

Sponsor's endorsement: "If there is ever a time when we need an extra hand for an activity, Erin is the person we go to. As well, she often is the chair of different activities where she serves as a mentor for other key club members. She has dedication to her volunteer projects and always follows through. As well, she is never afraid to take on a challenge."

Lindsey Vanden Bos, Westminster Christian School
Lindsey Vanden Bos, Westminster Christian School
Lindsey Vanden Bos, Westminster Christian School

Hometown: Carpentersville

Class: Senior

Parents: Len and Char Vanden Bos

Sponsor: Scott Sevey

Community service: Tuition fundraising, Vineyard Church breakfast for the homeless, backpacks for the homeless, blood drive

Personal statement: "Community Outreach has taught me how to lead my peers and encourage them to volunteer in the community around them. One project we headed as a club was collecting and filling backpacks with necessities for the homeless that gathered at a church where we served breakfast once a month. Delivering the backpacks to the homeless, with just a week before Christmas, has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have been privileged to have."

Sponsor's endorsement: "In January of her sophomore year, Lindsey learned that one of her peers would not be returning to our school do to financial hardship. Lindsey ... brainstormed a fundraising operation that would cover the remainder of the family's tuition bill for the year and allow the student to return to our school."

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