Neighbors in news: Harper graduate honored

Posted7/14/2016 1:38 PM
  • Christian Huerta of Hoffman Estates was named the One Million Degrees 2016 Scholar of the Year.

    Christian Huerta of Hoffman Estates was named the One Million Degrees 2016 Scholar of the Year. Courtesy of Harper College

  • Attorney Kerry M. Lavelle

    Attorney Kerry M. Lavelle Courtesy of Lavelle Law Ltd.

  • Wright "Andy" Williams

    Wright "Andy" Williams Courtesy of Oakton Community College

Recent Harper graduate Christian Huerta, of Hoffman Estates, was named the 2016 Scholar of the Year by One Millions Degrees, a pioneering organization that serves and graduates area community college students. Huerta, who moved to the U.S. in his freshman year of high school, will pursue a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies and political science at Northeastern Illinois University this fall. While at Harper, Huerta developed a close relationship with his One Million Degrees coach, Sergio Chapa, senior managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Chapa helped Huerta explore his college options, keep on track with his goals and invited him to join events hosted by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and HispanicPro, the Hispanic Professional Network.

• Wright "Andy" Williams has joined Oakton Community College as its new controller. He comes from College of Lake County, where he led and supervised the budgeting, accounting, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, cashier's office, food service, bookstore and campus services departments. He was selected by OCC from 55 internal and outside applicants.

• Attorney Kerry Lavelle of Lavelle Law, Ltd., Palatine, was appointed to a leadership role within the American Bar Association's Solo, Small Firm and General Practice division. Effective Aug. 7, Lavelle will serve on the Book Publications Board. In 2015, the American Bar Association published Lavelle's first book "The Business Guide to Law: Creating and Operating a Successful Law Firm."

• Glenview native Olivia Smoliga won the 100-meter backstroke final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Tuesday, June 28, in Omaha, securing her place on the 2016 Olympic team. Smoliga, who currently attends the University of Georgia, started her competitive swimming career with the Glenview Titans Aquatic Club, where she swam at Splash Landings Indoor Aquatic Complex at Glenview Park District Park Center and Glenbrook South High School. Smoliga won the event in 59.02 seconds, making her the third-fastest American ever to swim the 100-meter backstroke.

• Rolling Meadows resident Marie Ferentz has been awarded the T.K. Wilson & W. Hardy Eshbaugh Scholarship from Miami University's Department of Biology, along with Drs. T.K. Wilson and W. Hardy Eshbaugh and in collaboration with Miami University's Project Dragonfly. Ferentz, who was accepted into the Advanced Inquiry Program in 2013, has studied conservation research online and through experiential learning at an AIP-affiliated institution in Chicago. This summer, Ferentz is helping save native forest birds and local plant communities in Hawaii. She is a teacher at Lane Tech High School, in Chicago.

• Send your 'Neighbors in the News' items to Norrine Twohey at