'Suburban Standouts' still inspire us
No matter what our situation, we can all agree on one thing: we can use a little more inspiration.
We're very mindful of that.
Daily Herald editors five years ago discussed ways in which we might provide that. We wanted to look beyond our long-standing tradition of naming all-area sports teams, academic teams and the leadership teams for high schoolers and also celebratie those too young for high school who have found a way to excel. And excel mightily.
We've always said as we vet potential subjects for our "Suburban Standouts" feature that these must be kids whose stories just wow you.
Staff Writer Elena Ferrarin has been writing these profiles since the beginning. She's seen a former Standout make it to the NHL, another compete for gold in the Olympics and another perform magic on national TV.
On Monday, Ferrarin published a "where are they now?" feature on five she has profiled over the years.
Not surprisingly, these young people are still tearing it up.
In 2012, Meliton Chaidez represented Illinois in a national speech contest. Now 17, he is the student representative on the West Aurora District 129 school board and is co-national president of Boys II Men, which pushes young black and Latino men to achieve excellence.
Joey Massarelli of Elk Grove Village three years ago was accepted into the Royal Ballet School's international summer program. Now the 19-year-old is living in Amsterdam and dancing for the Dutch National Ballet's junior company.
Breanna Bogucki of Cary doesn't let her autism get in the way of spreading awareness about people with disabilities. The 18-year-old has sung in front of 65,000 people at the Special Olympics World Games and performed in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Brianne Cannataro of Schaumburg won her division at the World Tap Dance Championship in Germany in 2014 when she was 10. She's since added jazz, ballet and hip-hop to her repertoire.
Chase Dorn, 18, was named a featured baton twirler for the University of Illinois this year while maintaining straight A's.
Last year, she was the twirler at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates and had been named a Distinguished Young Woman of Illinois.
The kids we've profiled all feel a sense of purpose; many are rightfully self-assured. But surely not all the time. They have supportive parents, teachers and coaches who provide a loving nudge.
Our hope is that you recognize the potential in your own kids and that they recognize it in themselves.
These young people constantly inspire us. We hope they inspire you -- and your kids -- too.