Northwest Suburban • Fox Valley • DuPage County • Lake County • Judges
Hometown: Lake Villa
Parents: Kevin and Leslie Conn
Sponsor: Chris Kubic, public service practicum teacher
Community service: March of Dimes; True/False Film Festival; Youth in Action; Ellis Fischel Cancer Center; student council; National Honor Society
Personal statement: "In May 2007, the social networking Web site Facebook introduced a section of their Web site dedicated to causes. I immediately searched for a cause that was important to me - the March of Dimes - but did not find one. I knew it was important to spread the message of the March of Dimes, so I decided I would create a cause myself, called Save Premature Babies. ... I was amazed to see the cause grow by the hundreds every day to its current size of more than 375,000 members from more than 65 countries."
Sponsor's endorsement: "His experience in community service and leadership is impressive and allows him to lead in unique ways. Dylan serves not to earn a high grade, but because he believes in the projects and knows that they will not succeed without consistent student support."
Parents: Gregory Dana and Anne Fisher
Sponsor: Trini Hartley, guidance counselor
Community service: Wildwood Presbyterian Church youth group; National Honor Society; student rep to District 121 school board; Mother Earth's Concerned Students environmental club
Personal statement: "The one thing in the summer, maybe even the entire year, that I look forward the most is my youth group mission trip. Every summer, I travel to a different part of the country to help the less fortunate with about 50 of my closest friends. These experiences have completely changed my life and helped me realize the importance of helping others. Not only have these trips shown me how wonderful volunteering is, they also have real-life value."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Her teachers would tell you that she works exceptionally hard, has a genuine eagerness to learn, is passionate about her learning, and her grasp of academic material and ability to think critically is always outstanding. In addition to her involvement within the school, she has also had a positive impact on her community."
Parents: Lynne and Larry Ellet
Sponsor: Lauren Fagel, principal; Bruce Johnson, CEO, Nicasa
Community service: After School Coalition; Student Leadership canned food drive; Lake County Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force; Relay For Life; Future Business Leaders of America; SADD; National Honor Society
Personal statement: "I have gained so much from my volunteer experiences. Not only have I learned how important it is to give back to those who are less fortunate and to live by example, but I have realized that it is necessary in life to take risks. ... I have discovered that if I truly want to make a difference in this world, I must not be afraid to risk everything for something I believe in."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Ms. Ellet has been nothing less than an outstanding role model and mentor for her peers, younger children, adults and our entire community. Ms. Ellet is an exemplary student and exhibits many leadership and unselfish qualities that have benefited those associated with her.
Hometown: Hawthorn Woods
Parents: John and Barb Hartnett
Sponsor: Lynn Strutzel, principal
Community service: Carmel High School summer camp counselor; St. Francis De Sales religious education instructor; National Honor Society; Mu Alpha Theta; student council
Personal statement: "My volunteer experiences as a student coach have brought me out of my shyness and have a lasting impact on my career path. I was able to do a good thing with just a little portion of my time, and I realized aspects of myself that I would not have known without these experiences."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Leadership is a strong and consistent characteristic that has emerged in his classroom performance as well as through his extracurricular involvement. The foundation of his role as a school leader is his willingness to work hard and his strong sense of responsibility. Never satisfied with anything less than his best, this young man pursues beyond what is expected. ... His 4.36 GPA speaks of his ability to follow through on academic commitments. "
Hometown: Buffalo Grove
Parents: Renee and Michael Klass
Sponsor: Ted Goergen, director of student activities
Community service: Keshet Day School volunteer; Project Dance; Freshman Mentor Program; Give-A-Thon; Adaptive P.E. Leadership Program; student council; National Honor Society
Personal statement: "Thanks to my brother Ira, I knew from early on that my heart was in helping others, especially those who are not always able to help themselves. ... Striking a bat and hitting a home run is not half as rewarding as helping someone else do the same, seeing the appreciation and joy soar alongside that baseball."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Her service to others extends far beyond our campus. During the fall months she spends every Wednesday planning for Give-A-Thon, a holiday food drive that stocks the local food shelter for six months, provides gifts for 200 Lake County residents and baby supplies for mothers in need. ... She spends the little free time she has left volunteering to assist students with special needs at Keshet Day School."
Parents: Jeanne Morette and Robert Morette
Sponsor: Madonna Edmunds, head of school
Community service: Haiti Youth Group; Catholic Charities; American Indian Foundation; Juvenile Justice; Partners for Progress; school newspaper; yearbook; Service Day leader
Personal statement: "Service is all about affecting change: envisioning potential, both physical and emotional. One person can bring about serious change, sometimes big, sometimes small, and it is with this idea that I embark on my volunteer work. One person cannot change the world, but one person can affect change. And the second I saw the need for change in Haiti, it became my focus, my goal for change."
Sponsor's endorsement: "It was her work in Haiti which had a tremendous impact on her world view. It is from this moment that her desire to pursue a career in international business and economic development was born. She wants to assist struggling countries to develop a sustainable and competitive economy."
Hometown: Round Lake Beach
Parents: Jeffrey and Grazyna Oehrlein
Sponsor: Justin Strebel, social sciences teacher
Community service: Student council; National Honor Society; Prince of Peace religious education and altar server coordinator; referendums committee
Personal statement: "I want to make volunteering an even bigger part of my future than it is in my present. I have come to fully believe St. Francis of Assisi when he said, 'It is in giving that we receive.' By helping others, I have bettered myself so much; I could not ask for anything greater in return."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student is the complete package, a true asset to her school and her community. She consistently puts the needs and wants of others before her own while still keeping her head high above water to assure her own success. ... In years past she has been instrumental in assuring the success of community service projects. ... If it needs to be done, Stephanie isn't content to just do, she is driven to excel."
Parents: Nancy Powers
Sponsor: Wanda Gongol, math teacher
Community service: Student Council Executive Board; Gardens for Gambia; First Class adopt-a-family project; Hands and Toes clothing drive; student representative to school board; National Honor Society; Model United Nations
Personal statement: "I had the privilege of collecting more than 35,000 canned goods, impacting more than 600 lives by running two blood drives, and organizing a 9-11 vigil in honor of those who lost their lives. Overall, I donated more than 270 hours of my time last year to support student government activities and community service... I learned how to create a sound school-life balance and certainly enjoyed the experience."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Of the many students that I have known at this high school, she ranks in the top 3 percent. She would never go back on a commitment and would devote as much time as necessary to meet her goals. She is mature beyond her years and is well aware of who she is and where she wants to go in life."
Parents: Vasant and Dharmistha Patel
Sponsor: Dustin Chierico, public service practicum teacher
Community service: Student council; National Honor Society; Key Club International
Personal statement: "I still vividly remember the aches and pains from collecting and sorting more than 55,000 pounds of food last year, but the day we delivered the food to the community was the best balm and therapy one can imagine. A single mother with two young children, ashamed to cry in front of her own kids, could not bear to look me in the eyes; this vision remains with me to this day as a remembrance of why I put my time and effort into helping others."
Sponsor's endorsement: "Ruchee is not only a leader but a tireless worker. Consistently, she is one of the students that brings in the most food during the food drive. She is always looking for more ways to participate and help the cause. What is more, Ruchee is always the first person to show up and the last person to leave. ... She is given a job to do and does not let anything stand in her way."
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Peiyi Rong and Kelly Tang
Sponsor: DeAnn Firnbach, counselor
Community service: First Class adopt-a-family project; Xing Xuan Academy of Primary Education, teacher; National Honor Society president; yearbook
Personal statement: "I saw for myself how education fosters the development of new ideas. Principal Chui hoped to mix Western and Eastern teaching styles together. He linked this with me. I used my own knowledge and shared it with the teachers in training. They then moved on to teach their own students. This, I think, is how the world works. One person's idea may expand onto many other people."
Sponsor's endorsement: "This student understands that some of the best learning occurs outside the walls of the classroom. ... He often spends summers in China, reveling in cultural differences and deepening his understanding of the role that culture plays in shaping our perceptions and values. The richness of his international experiences has played a key role, no doubt, in his development into a flexible-minded, culturally aware young person."
Hometown: Lake Villa
Parents: Shari and Tyler Buchholz
Sponsor: Katie Plese, school librarian
Community service: Open Arms Mission; Key Club; Halloween Howl; Free Friday Night Concerts; National Honor Society; peer tutor
Parents: Mary Miller, Daniel Burch
Sponsor: Jeffrey R. Schagrin, social studies department
Community service: Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County; Nicasa; Tri-M; Girl Scouts
Hometown: North Barrington
Parents: Scott and Teresa Dever
Sponsor: Craig Lehigh, school counselor
Community service: Love, Light and Melody mission work; Interact; National Honor Society; Lake Geneva Youth Camp; Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Hometown: Lake Forest
Parents: Tom and Connie Duckworth
Sponsor: Andrew F. Poska, associate dean of college counseling
Community service: Church of the Holy Spirit; Lake Forest Bank and Trust board member; Harvesting Hope; Lake Forest Park Department volunteer coach; peer leader; peer tutor
Hometown: Round Lake
Parents: Silvia Esqueda-Stiverson
Sponsor: Tammy Freund, school counselor
Community service: Karing for Kids; Skills U.S.A.; Toys for Tots; student council
Parents: Edmond and Beverley Mekertichian
Sponsor: Sister Megan McElroy
Community service: Kenilworth Union Church service project; Catholic Charities; American Cancer Society; Project HUGS
Parents: Mike and Joyce Mol
Sponsor: Heather Marzullo, English teacher
Community service: St. Mark Lutheran Church youth group; Feed My Starving Children; Trinity Lutheran Church Sunday school teacher; Open Arms Food Pantry; National Honor Society
Hometown: Lake Zurich
Parents: Mary and Steve O'Connor
Sponsor: Gerry Sansone, social studies teacher
Community service: Peer Ministry; National Honor Society; American Cancer Society Relay For Life; student council
Parents: Jayesh and Harshida Parikh
Sponsor: Kristi Robertson, history teacher
Community service: Condell Hospital volunteer; Lake Forest Hospital volunteer; Teen-Aiders; Winchester House volunteer; National Honor Society; student council
Parents: James and Susan Sipes
Sponsor: Sydney J. Klocke, principal
Community service: Catalyst; Grayslake Central Code of Conduct Committee; Grayslake Central Public Service Practicum; National Honor Society; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; peer mediation
Hometown: Round Lake
Parents: Mark and Shari Skorcz
Sponsor: Lynne Strutzel, principal
Community service: Catholic Heart Work Camp; St. Gilbert's parish vacation Bible school; Carmel High School Student Athletic Training Program; Kairos Retreat Leader; St. Gilbert's Teen Ministry; student council; National Honor Society
Hometown: Vernon Hills
Parents: Eric and Maureen Sprieser
Sponsor: Becky Bellito, school counselor
Community service: Student council; Children's Outreach and Vocational Education Alliance; St. Mary of Vernon Sharing Hands Ministry and PADS Ministry; First Class; National Honor Society
Parents: Mr. and Mrs. David White
Sponsor: Ellen Corey, school counselor
Community service: National Honor Society; Partnership for Academic Excellence; Adopt a Family; North Suburban Leadership Conference
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