St. Francis High School student wins national community service award
St. Francis High School junior Ella Champagne has a lot going on. She's editor of the yearbook and the student newspaper. She's on math team, works at Panera Bread, and is on the executive board for SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving). On top of it all, Ella volunteers -- a lot -- and she loves it.
This spring, Ella was recognized by the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) and InnerView in the fifth annual National Community Service Impact Awards.
According to UNA-USA, Ella delivered the most impact for Sustainable Development Goals, which outline 17 goals for a better world by 2030. The highest level of recognition is 100 service hours -- Ella completed 160 hours in the 2021-22 school year.
"Giving time to my community is really important," Ella said. "Plus it's fun for me."
She splits her time between two organizations, the Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center and Lombard Historical Society. At the Children's Resource Center, Ella tutors academically at-risk students twice a week in math and English and assists with their summer program. At the historical society, she writes blog posts, digitizes newspapers, works in the gift shop, and delivers books to homebound residents.
"I love working with kids, and I love history. It's a good way to spend my time," she said.
At the Children's Resource Center, Ella said she's particularly enjoyed building relationships with the students.
"I work with the same student every day, so our relationship is very close," she said. "It's been really nice to see him grow throughout the school year."
She said people are often surprised to hear she enjoys her time at the museum as well.
"If you look from an outside perspective, it sounds boring to learn about history and look through archives but I love getting to know all about local history. It's not something we learn about in school," she said.
So how does she manage it all?
"My teachers have been great and really taught me about time management, and whenever I have free time I try to get ahead," she said, with the understanding that it's also important to rest and recharge.
In her senior year next year, she'll also serve as an officer for National Honor Society and is looking forward to Kairos.
"I'm looking forward to all the traditions -- dances and graduation," she said. "After high school, I want to do journalism or political science."
She hopes to stay somewhat close to home, which is Glen Ellyn, where she lives with her brother and parents who also attended St. Francis High School, Joe, Class of 1989, and Kathleen Holper, Class of 1989 Champagne.