MHS student leader honored by Obama for activism
Mundelein High School senior Trey Baker was recently honored by former President Barack Obama for his school and community volunteer work.
Baker has been active as an executive board member of the MHS Black Student Union and organizer for the Stronger Together movement, supporter of Black Lives Matter and a volunteer in distributing food to Mundelein residents since the pandemic began.
Recently, he chaired a 5K race, Mundelein Race Against Gun Violence, which raised funds and helped raise awareness for more than 50 community organizations working for a more peaceful Chicago.
The event was also backed by the My Brother's Keeper organization, launched in 2014 by former President Barack Obama to address persistent opportunity gaps facing young men and women of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential.
"I was surprised today with a package sent to my house from the Obama Foundation offices in Washington, D.C.," Baker said.
The package was a copy of President Obama's recent book, "A Promised Land," along with a note from President Obama and the former president of the Obama Foundation, Wally Adeyemo (who now is the nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Treasury for President-elect Biden).
It reads (on back): "Dear Trey, Through your passion and capacity for empathy, in a year that made progress feel unattainable, we have accomplished so much together. In this season of claiming joy, I am forever grateful for the joy this community brings to the world and one another. Wishing you and your loved ones peace and continued good health as we head into a promising year ahead."
"Once I read the note, I looked down to see that President Obama had also signed the book for me as well. I received a call from my mentor and our community's contact person who works for the Obama Foundation," Baker said.
"Their team in Washington, D.C., had a discussion with President Obama about our work in changing the culture of our community and our efforts in creating MBK Mundelein. They said he was so proud and inspired by our efforts and work ahead. Lastly, they told me that I'll be meeting with President Obama in the coming weeks," Baker said.
Baker went on to thank several MHS staff members, including Superintendent Kevin Myers, Principal Anthony Kroll, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching/Learning Stacey Gorman, Director of Building and Grounds Kevin Quinn, Parent Liaison Sol Cabachuela, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Jamie DiCarlo and Public Information Officer Ron Girard.
"I wanted to share this with you because I am extremely appreciative of the love and support you all have showered me with on this journey toward a more hopeful and just society," Baker said.
"I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again ... thank you for believing in me from day one to lead these efforts, and for giving me the capacity to embark toward real change in our community."