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Daily Herald's Fox Valley Leadership Team
Daily Herald Staff Report

Daily Herald's Fox Valley Leadership Team 2010.

 

John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/27/2010 11:14 AM | Updated: 2/11/2010 12:47 PM

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2009-10 Leadership Team
Amishi Bajaj Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown: Oak Brook

Class: Senior

Parents: Dr. Ajay Bajaj and Dr. Ameeta Bajaj

Sponsor: Julia Husen, college and academic counselor

Community service: Peer tutoring and group tutoring, North South Foundation, Hinsdale Community House Theatre, Kids Institute Program at IMSA, volunteer at Advocate Good Samaritan

Personal statement: "Tutoring is one of my greatest hobbies; it is beyond rewarding to take a hand, touch a heart, and give guidance. Watching others succeed provides me with immense satisfaction and strengthens my desire to tutor others and watch them attain their goals, as well. "

Sponsor's endorsement: "Due to the sheer number of activities and awards she has accumulated in her lifetime, it's hard to comprehend the fact that Amishi came to our high school as a 'schmen' (our term for students who matriculate directly from eighth grade). Amishi is an independent thinker and decision maker. She is well beyond her years. Amishi will be limited only by the time and space constraints inherent to the universe."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Raynette Bierman Elgin Academy

Hometown: Wayne

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Raynette Bierman

Sponsor: Seth Hanford, director of Upper School

Community service: PADS volunteer, Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, Orphanage Outreach, Community Crisis Center volunteer

Personal statement: "For me, service does not only mean going to PADS on Thursday mornings and mentoring the students at the Boys and Girls Club, but it is also about educating my school about causes that affect our community, nation, and world. I believe the first step toward action is being aware of the beliefs and missions behind the causes. My goal is to inspire others to find a cause they are passionate about; I want to show others that true volunteerism is about loving that cause and believing in their own ability to make an impact."

Sponsor's endorsement: "(Raynette Bierman) is our school's consummate leader and I echo our faculty in giving her my highest recommendation. She has impressed us with her intelligence and work ethic, her leadership, and her care for those around her."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Andrew Boston South Elgin High School

Hometown: South Elgin

Class: Senior

Parents: Mark and Jean Boston

Sponsor: Arlene Enger, counselor

Community service: Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Foundation conference, peer tutoring, Elgin Youth United Way

Personal statement: "Recently, I volunteered as a pumpkin carrier for a local fall festival. I only expected to come home with a tired back and a mud-stained jacket, but as the day progressed I realized I would come home with so much more. I was surprised to find that many people were overflowing with thanks and comments regarding my presence at the event. I went on to mention that I was doing this project as a volunteer and received many thanks and many pieces of advice."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Aside from his commendable academics, exemplary leadership, and passion for service, even more outstanding are his personal attributes. His motivation, perseverance, and desire to continually challenge himself are indicative of his potential. He is devoted, exceptionally confident, congenial, talented, and well-liked and respected by both professionals and his peers."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Matthew Derrico Marmion Academy

Hometown: Batavia

Class: Senior

Parents: Jim and Deann Derrico

Sponsor: Julie Garofalo, academic dean

Community service: Hesed House homeless mentoring, Campus Ministry mission trips to West Virginia and Ecuador, Eucharistic ministry

Personal statement: "From mission trips in foreign lands, to serving the community around me, I have had the good fortune to excel in a part of my life others have not. I consider these opportunities to be gifts - gifts that have taught me valuable lessons about being a leader and serving others ... The lessons I learned taught me to live each day as it comes with passion, responsibility, selflessness, and most importantly, balance."

Sponsor's endorsement: "As early as his freshman year, (Matt) stood out among his peers as a natural leader. Today, he is a very effective student council president. He takes all opinions into consideration and has a knack for drawing many groups and students together for a common cause. He's not afraid to delegate, stands by those who help, stands up to criticism, includes everyone, and always follows through."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Tim Johnson St. Charles East High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Keven and Colleen Johnson

Sponsor: Jeff Bialeschki and Sheila Vining, counselors

Community service: St. Mark's Lutheran Church service projects, Special Olympics volunteer, peer tutoring, Salvation Army volunteer

Personal statement: "A good friend of mine, Sam, has Down syndrome. Whenever she does something right and she gives me a high-five, I smile and high-five her back, because there is nothing better than that feeling of helping out somebody who isn't as capable. It puts a light in my day. That high-five symbolizes something. It shouts out to the world that even people with special needs, like Sam, understand life. Maybe they understand it better than we do."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The positive aspects of his character communicate a genuine sincerity that is often lacking in today's youth. He is very in tune to those individuals around him. He has the ability to 'turn lemons into lemonade' so to speak. He is a very friendly and outgoing individual who can always make the best out of a situation."

2009-10 Leadership Team
William Jolly St. Charles North High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Steven and Florence Jolly

Sponsor: Shannon Von Essen, English teacher

Community service: Renovating Fox Valley Pregnancy Center, Key Club, Boy Scouts roadside cleanup

Personal statement: "Being a leader can oftentimes be a frightening endeavor, and I am certainly not exempt from this feeling; nonetheless, there is no better position to be in if you are honestly looking to benefit an organization and the individuals in that organization. One of my first major leadership positions was Senior Patrol Leader for my Boy Scout troop. This role taught me to never settle for the bare minimum as a leader, but rather to do my best to exceed all foreseen limitations.

Sponsor's endorsement: "He is one of the most talented, hardworking, and dedicated young men with whom I have had the opportunity to work with. No matter what his position or goal, he gives everything he has to everything he does. ... He is kind, compassionate, and patient."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Alexandra Pace Geneva High School

Hometown: Geneva

Class: Senior

Parents: Jim and Carie Pace

Sponsor: Cindy Kovach, counselor

Community service: Frillz Inc. charity drive for homeless, Geneva History Center, Environmental Club, National Honor Society, Key Club

Personal statement: "I have co-developed Frillz Inc., a nonprofit organization in the State of Illinois. Frillz builds self-esteem in homeless and disadvantaged women by providing tools for health and beauty and encouraging the development of good personal habits. Volunteers organize and assemble care packages containing cosmetic and hygienic products for women. We have initially targeted local areas of need, such as Lazarus House, but eventually hope to become widespread."

Sponsor's endorsement: "The high school years for this student have been much more than simply academic success. The myriad of ways she has extended herself and her experiential learning through activities outside the classroom is truly impressive and inspiring. With great vision, this student has served others and led others."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Sarah Rot Larkin High School

Hometown: Elgin

Class: Junior

Parents: Cliff Rot and Ellen Locke

Sponsor: Jon Tuin, principal

Community service: Redbird Missions trip to Kentucky, nursing home volunteer, Easter Seals telethon

Personal statement: "Last year, I traveled to Kentucky on a mission trip with my church. While there, we put in a completely new ceiling and windows in a small house, and repainted every room (including the outside). At the end of the week, I felt such an immense pride for our group for being able to help out a family in such a drastic way. "

Sponsor's endorsement: "As principal of a large high school, I am often asked to write letters of recommendation, but it is rarely that I have the opportunity to write one for such an amazing student. (Sarah Rot) is a well-rounded student who performs at a high level academically, artistically, athletically and in her service to the school. ... However, the aspect that impresses me the most is her willingness to serve her community and school. Some students perform acts of community service to meet admissions standards or to receive awards, but she obviously serves out of a driven passion for others."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Nikki Smith Kaneland High School

Hometown: Elburn

Class: Senior

Parents: Warren and Carol Smith

Sponsor: Maria Mecic, counselor

Community service: Girl Scouts day camp leader, vacation Bible school volunteer, Appalachian mission trip

Personal statement: "I have volunteered in much of my free time during high school, but the experiences that have been the most meaningful and left an impression are the times when I have found myself drastically changed. My ability to interact with children, and to learn from them, has improved since I first began baby-sitting. Through my volunteering I have realized that we can all learn from children if we watch them closely and open ourselves to the idea that their behavior is something to be modeled and respected."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is polite and respectful of all people of all cultures. She is an earnest individual who is always grateful for opportunities that present themselves, whether they are academic, artistic, or of service to others. In both the classroom and her extracurricular activities, much of Nikki's success has come from her willingness to listen and always be there for others."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Jennifer Wood Batavia High School

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Bryan and Lori Wood

Sponsor: Dr. Hichens, principal

Community service: Relay For Life, Key Club, peer tutoring

Personal statement: "Losing a grandparent motivated me to make a difference. I wanted to be a part of helping find a cure for cancer through fundraising, so I became devoted to Relay For Life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Jennifer Wood, the vice president of Key Club, has given to our school and our community in a number of meaningful ways. In addition to her leadership role in Key Club, Jennifer also serves as treasurer for the National Honor Society, secretary for Tri-M, and as vice president of the National French Honor Society. She is also involved with Relay For Life, and her fundraising efforts have earned thousands of dollars for this organization. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, and she has previously been recognized through the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award."

Honorable mentions

2009-10 Leadership Team
Jennifer Allen St. Charles East High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Rodney and Maureen Allen

Sponsor: Jeff Bialeschki and Mark Pereda, counselors

Community service: Math Honors Society, Model U.N., Peer Leadership, Girl Scouts of America day camp aide, vacation Bible school volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Kelly Barabasz Geneva High School

Hometown: Geneva

Class: Senior

Parents: Jeanne O'Donnell and Robert Barabasz

Sponsor: Mary Jane Johnson, director of counseling and advising

Community service: Key Club member, Students Against Disastrous Decisions (SADD), Children's Theatre volunteer, National Honor Society, International Thespian Society president

2009-10 Leadership Team
Joseph Carrothers Dundee-Crown High School

Hometown: Algonquin

Class: Senior

Parents: Joseph and Susan Carrothers

Sponsor: Kim Gavigan, Student Learning Experience coordinator

Community service: Religious Education teacher's aide, soup kitchen volunteer, math tutor, National Honor Society executive board member

2009-10 Leadership Team
August Domel St. Edward Central Catholic High

Hometown: Sleepy Hollow

Class: Senior

Parents: August and Gina Domel

Sponsor: Kerry O'Brien, guidance counselor

Community service: National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer, St. Catherine of Siena Parish volunteer, Tri-Cities Little League volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Brigid Duggan St. Charles North High School

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Sheila Duggan

Sponsor: Dr. Robert Freitag, counselor

Community service: Church volunteer, camp counselor, church retreat coordinator, Delnor Community Hospital day care volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Kevin Garofalo Marmion Academy

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Michael and Julie Garofalo

Sponsor: Frank Giangrego, instructor

Community service: Special Olympics volunteer, Justice Walking volunteer, Campus Ministry volunteer, National Honor Society, JROTC

2009-10 Leadership Team
Jordan Graf Marian Central Catholic High School

Hometown: Woodstock

Class: Senior

Parents: Rod and Amy Graf

Sponsor: Rebecca Reed, guidance counselor

Community service: National Honor Society, religious education teacher, Tri-M National Music Honors Society, Freshmen mentor program volunteer, Respect for Life Awareness Group co-founder

2009-10 Leadership Team
Elizabeth Halvorson Jacobs High School

Hometown: Algonquin

Class: Senior

Parents: Michael and Suzanne Halvorson

Sponsor: Tamara McKenna, school counselor

Community service: Community service: Student council member, Fox Valley Leadership Conference, elementary school activities volunteer, madrigal group member

2009-10 Leadership Team
Meena Iyer Illinois Math and Science Academy

Hometown: Elmhurst

Class: Senior

Parents: Kannan and Jayanthy Iyer

Sponsor: Julia Husen, coordinator of college and academic counseling<

Community service: Habitat for Humanity, Elmhurst Peer Jury, Elmhurst Hospital volunteer, Leadership Education and Development member, student council cabinet member

2009-10 Leadership Team
Rikki Johnson Dundee-Crown High School

Hometown: East Dundee

Class: Senior

Parents: Gary and Terese Johnson

Sponsor: Melissa Baker, Family and Consumer Science/Rotary Interact<

Community service: Rotary Interact club secretary, Beta Club, National Honor Society

2009-10 Leadership Team
Preksha Maiya Jacobs High School

Hometown: Carpentersville

Class: Senior

Parents: Manoor and Prathibha Mahesh

Sponsor: Katherine Atkins, school counselor

Community service: National Honor Society, Interact Community Service Club president, H2O for Life president and founder, High Schools Against Cancer, Service Learning Team/Jacobs Safety Initiative member

2009-10 Leadership Team
Mitchel Malatek Kaneland High School

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Troy and Phaedra Malatek

Sponsor: Andrew J. Franklin, counselor

Community service: National Honor Society, Model U.N., summer camp volunteer, small-group leader for junior high students

2009-10 Leadership Team
Rachel Martinez Huntley High School

Hometown: Lake in the Hills

Class: Junior

Parents: Fernando and Vanessa Martinez

Sponsor: Cathleen O'Donnell, English teacher

Community service: Alliance for Youth Services Humanitarian Expedition, Special Olympics volunteer, Community Service Club, Church Service Youth Group, Link Crew (transitional program for underclassmen)

No photo provided
Jomar Mendoza West Aurora High School

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Juan Mendoza and Freda Davis-Mendoza

Sponsor: Andrew Scharm, Director of Student Activities

Community service: Boys to Men mentor, Progressive Baptist Church volunteer, Make A Wish Foundation volunteer, National Honor Society president, Student Ambassador

2009-10 Leadership Team
Jessica Minott Aurora Central Catholic High

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Kenneth and Marsha Minott

Sponsor: Sharon Elgar, AP biology and chemistry teacher

Community service: National Honor Society, Student Ambassador, Girl Scouts, St. Joseph Church volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Patrick Peterson Batavia High School

Hometown: Batavia

Class: Senior

Parents: Philip and Patricia Peterson

Sponsor: Lisa Hichens, principal

Community service: National Honor Society, Tri-M Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, music lesson assistant

2009-10 Leadership Team
Mark Pfotenhauer Aurora Central Catholic High School

Hometown: DeKalb

Class: Senior

Parents: Jim and Susan Pfotenhauer

Sponsor: Sharon Elgar, AP Biology and Chemistry Teacher

Community service: Meals On Wheels, DeKalb Public Library volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, National Honor Society, Key Club

2009-10 Leadership Team
Emily Piech Rosary High School

Hometown: Geneva

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Mary Piech

Sponsor: Joseph Gibbons, math teacher

Community service: Student Ambassador, Relay For Life volunteer, student council president, National Honor Society, Human Rights Club

2009-10 Leadership Team
Marcus Popenfoose Huntley High School

Hometown: Huntley

Class: Senior

Parents: Joel and Kim Popenfoose

Sponsor: Chris Maxedon, teacher and coach

Community service: XXNational Honor Society, Link Crew (transitional program for underclassmen), tech and service teams at Westlake Community ChurchXX

2009-10 Leadership Team
Ryan Smith Larkin High School

Hometown: Elgin

Class: Senior

Parents: Chuck and Karen Smith

Sponsor: Dr. Jon Tuin, principal

Community service: National Honor Society, student government, class officer, Crop Walk for Hunger, Elgin Crisis Center

2009-10 Leadership Team
Elizabeth Spaargaren West Aurora High School

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Rose and Edward Spaargaren

Sponsor: Andrew Scharm, Director of Student Activities

Community service: Student Ambassador, National Honor Society, Madrigal Singers, Drama Club historian

2009-10 Leadership Team
Cailey Stancl South Elgin High School

Hometown: Bartlett

Class: Senior

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. James Stancl

Sponsor: Dominique Zewde and Angelica Cordova, counselors

Community service: Student government president, church volunteer, National Honor Society, Students Today, Leaders Forever volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Madeline Stone Elgin Academy

Hometown: St. Charles

Class: Senior

Parents: Christine and Jim Stone

Sponsor: Seth Hanford, Assistant Head of School/Director of Upper School

Community service: PADS volunteer, Salvation Army volunteer, Model United Nations, School Ambassador, Big Brother/Big Sister program volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Kelsey Taldone Crystal Lake South High School

Hometown: Crystal Lake

Class: Senior

Parents: Amy and Joe Taldone

Sponsor: Brian Adcock, teacher and National Honor Society sponsor

Community service: National Honor Society, Student Leadership Group, soup kitchen volunteer, service project coordinator

2009-10 Leadership Team
Marius Volkhart Crystal Lake South High School

Hometown: Crystal Lake<

Class: Senior

Parents: Hans and Heike Volkhart

Sponsor: Bill Altmann

Community service: Boy Scouts of America, National Honor Society, student council member, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE)

2009-10 Leadership Team
Fiona Weeks Marian Central Catholic High

Hometown: Huntley

Class: Senior

Parents: Margaret Flood and Patrick Weeks

Sponsor: Rebecca Reed, guidance counselor

Community service: National Honor Society, church retreat counselor, Bread of Healing Clinic volunteer, school literary magazine editor, founder and director of Students for Women's Interests, Rights, and Legislation

Full list of teams

Daily Herald's Northwest Suburban Leadership Team

Daily Herald's Fox Valley Leadership Team

Daily Herald's DuPage County Leadership Team

Daily Herald's Lake County Leadership Team

Daily Herald's Leadership Team judges