DuPage County Leadership Team, 2018-2019
Olivia Benson, Waubonsie Valley High School
Parents: Amy and Rob Benson
Sponsor: Cindi Gustafson, counselor
Community service: Nathaniel's Hope Buddy Break volunteer; Music and Memory volunteer; Aspiring Medical Professionals, helped organize and execute a project working with Lurie Children's Hospital to deliver holiday card bags; work camp mission trip, senior leader for assistance coordinating the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church youth ministry mission trip; SPARKS Sunday school leader
Personal statement: "Helping others has fulfilled my life and given it purpose where there was no other purpose to be found. Volunteering has uplifted my life as much as, or even more than, the lives I have uplifted through my own service. Volunteering has given me purpose, defined my core values, and opened my eyes to the essential components of humanity"
Sponsor's endorsement: "I love working with Olivia. She is the first one to volunteer when we need something done, and she is consistently positive and energetic - a terrific role model for the others in the class."
Matteo Caulfield, Benet Academy
Parents: Dilva Naldi Caulfield
Sponsor: Amy Wesley, counselor
Community service: Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout service project at St. Procopius Abbey; Humanitarian Service Project, organized successful campaign at school to collect nonperishable food items for those in need in the Chicago area; St. Procopius Abbey, chaplain's aid and prefect duties for disabled clergy; Benet Academy development office, assistant special event organizer and clerical worker
Personal statement: "Although as of yet I do not see a distinct path for my own future, volunteerism has shown me that I am a people person. As I narrow down my major interests to the social sciences, I know that no matter what I do, I must be able to directly help people every day - whether that might be by advocating for someone in court, or becoming a community organizer, or running for an elected office."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Matteo is an amazing young man of integrity, faith, discipline, and open-mindedness; he has been an impactful member of our community."
Arya Chawla, Hinsdale Central High School
Hometown: Oak Brook
Parents: Anshu and Sri Chawla
Sponsor: John Marinier
Community service: Music Uplifts, created organization to perform music to comfort Alzheimer's patients; Alzheimer's Association of Illinois Youth Council, created new youth council with Alzheimer's Association; Terra Vista Assisted Living Center for Alzheimer's disease, engage with Alzheimer's patients to provide companionship; Community House Willowbrook Youth Learning Program, student leader intern; Natya Dance Theater, senior dancer
Personal statement: "I dream that scientists will develop a cure for Alzheimer's in my lifetime - they are inching closer to it everyday. Until then, I will continue focusing my efforts on bringing comfort to those battling Alzheimer's. I will dedicate myself to working toward a world without Alzheimer's, for I believe we all have a civic duty to make strong contributions to society."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Arya Chawla is a forward-thinking young woman - an extraordinary leader who is thirsty to impact others in a positive way. "
Sean Fu, Neuqua Valley High School
Parents: Thomas Fu and Ziran Fu
Sponsor: Stephanie LaPorta, counselor
Community service: Maintain The Terrain, co-founded the group with four other high school students to promote awareness on the importance of prairies; science resource teacher assistant; Living Water Evangelical Church, youth group leader, worship team guitarist/vocalist, and local missionary; Illinois Institute of Technology Global Leaders Program, worked with Chicago on brainstorming promotion ideas for the new municipal city ID; Mawi Leaders, joined the online leadership program created by Mawi Asgedom
Personal statement: "Through my experiences, I have learned that the significance of community service lies in its name: community service. By thinking and acting for people other than myself, I am able to form connections and relationships with those I help, building a community."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Discipline, hard work, passion and grit. These are traits that I have seen in Sean from an early age. As a senior these traits have only strengthened and never wavered."
Quinn Fulmer, Lake Park High School
Parents: Donald and Mary Fulmer
Sponsor: Taylor Severino, counselor
Community service: Boy Scouts of America, personal Eagle project consists of placing numerous bird houses in Roselle Parks; Lake Park High School, built a Canada goose nesting platform and convinced the school's maintenance to float it in their lake; Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, responds to calls about injured birds in and around Roselle; Willowbrook Wildlife Center, rehabs pigeons and starlings; buys rare game birds to release in prime prairie habitat in an effort to revive struggling populations
Personal statement: "Wildlife rescue has taught me the virtue of patience; for every ten-minute rescue, there are a dozen two-hour ones. Keeping focused and calm has always resulted in a successful rescue."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Quinn is, simply put, one of the most outstanding students I have worked with. He is genuine, selfless, eager for knowledge and passionate about making our planet a better place for not only humans but wildlife."
Katherine Ho, Naperville Central High School
Parents: Angel and Edwin Ho
Sponsor: Jane Thompson
Community service: RALLY2Recycle, started a tennis ball recycling program; Special Olympics Track with NCUSD 203 (Team Fire), peer coach; Business Professionals of America, organized variety of community service events for the club; Merry Tutor, tutor a variety of subjects on the weekends; Naperville Public Library, READ2Gether volunteer
Personal statement: "Having so many opportunities to give back, I hope to continue doing so in college and beyond. In college, I would like to establish a collegiate tennis ball recycling program as well as continue working with Special Olympics in some aspect. "
Sponsor's endorsement: "Our school is an extremely competitive academic high school in which Katherine excels. Her transcript speaks for itself as to her academic success and her willingness to challenge herself. Katherine's work ethic and compassion are integral aspects of her unwavering character. Simply put, Katherine makes teaching a privilege. "
Mary Therese Jacobs, Benet Academy
Parents: Alex and Maureen Jacobs
Sponsor: Laura Lundstrom
Community service: National Charity League, supports local charities with community service; Humanitarian Service Project, food distribution center volunteer; Feed My Starving Children, worked to organize more service opportunities at FMSC; Meals on Wheels, summer volunteer; Christmas Drive
Personal statement: "I believe that we all need to understand and love each other. My service has encouraged me to reach out of my comfort zone and connect with different people, and I believe our differences make us stronger. Because of this, I try to cultivate love of diversity everywhere I go. Every time I volunteer, I become more thankful for the differences in everyone around me"
Sponsor's endorsement: "Nothing gets by Tess while she is in charge and whatever the outcome, Tess finds pride in a job well done knowing she did her best. This is why we nominated Tess for this honor - she is the perfect blend of intelligence, strength, persistence, and personality."
Selam Kahsay, Wheaton North High School
Parents: Gebremedhin Kahsay and Ziggy Abay
Sponsor: Stephanie Eaton, school counselor
Community service: St. Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Church, director of Sunday school services for ages 8-10, director of children choir ages 8-10 and assistant for teen choir; St. Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Sunday school and choir teacher; United Orthodox Tewahedo Youth, secretary for Chicago branch; Ethiopian Embassy, public speaking
Personal statement: "My volunteering energizes me and opens my eye to the struggles that others face. It tells the story of those you would probably never talk to and always teaches many lessons. I can and want to fulfill this gap between our fellow brothers and sisters and the peace they are reaching so far for."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Selam's strength as a student is only rivaled by her awesomeness as a person. It is rare to be in awe of a high school student, but I am often humbled by her insight, her experience, and her perspective. "
Ahmad Raza, Islamic Foundation School
Parents: Tahir Anjum and Tasmia Mushtaq
Sponsor: Saadia A. Siddiqi, science instructor
Community service: DuPage PADS, volunteer work at the First Church of Lombard; Eid Fest 2016 and 2017, volunteer work at the annual Eid Fest; Addison Public Library, volunteer during the summer; community-based events (fundraisers, parent-teacher conferences and open house); tutoring
Personal statement: "Volunteering is a unique experience that creates bonds that can't be created anywhere else. It gives someone a feeling that can't be achieved through work or forced service. It has to be achieved from self-desire. "
Sponsor's endorsement: "Ahmad is a very motivated, mature student and displays good work ethic. He has actively participated in the laboratory activities and class discussions and sometimes comes up with amazing ideas. Most times he leads the group during labs and activities. His written work shows attention to detail."
Anuva Shandilya, Neuqua Valley High School
Parents: Pooja and Pankaj Shandilya
Sponsor: Elizabeth Hobbs, English teacher
Community service: Chance for Sports, founder and CEO of nonprofit that donates used sports equipment to underprivileged children; Meaningful Summers, associate director corporate communications for nonprofit that raised money for numerous charities
Personal statement: "Managing an internationally renowned nonprofit at age 17 is arduous, yet I could not be prouder and more grateful for all this opportunity has engendered in others and me. I am bringing more than just sports to impoverished families - I am giving children across the world smiles, hopes, and dreams. Simultaneously, I am able to mentor many of my peers who have been inspired by my work and wish to create their own charitable efforts."
Sponsor's endorsement: "One of the things I most admire and respect about Anuva is her continuous reflection of her work and her life. Anuva is always looking to personally improve and succeed - to this end, she is willing to ask good questions and seek out answers."