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Daily Herald's DuPage County Leadership Team
Published: 1/27/2010 11:14 AM

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Eric Behna Benet Academy

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Ramy and Martha Behna

Sponsor: Amy Wesley, guidance counselor

Community service: Participated in a spring break service trip to Appalachia through High School Outreach; organized a school supply drive through High School Outreach; Autumn Grove Resource Center tutor; Marquard Center Soup Kitchen volunteer; Feed My Starving Children volunteer; Outreach Executive Board

Personal statement: "The people we served food to were poor, homeless, down on their luck. This man was happy - to have a roof over his head, to have warm food on his plate, to have a glass of clean water. ... I'm of a generation that places immense value on material things, superficial things. ... But this man had nothing. It was the most humbling experience of my life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "My nominee loves to discuss, interpret, argue, and debate - interests that have led to his desire to pursue a liberal arts education. Whether he eventually chooses to pursue a political career or a teaching career, he is eager to continue challenging himself both academically and personally."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Elizabeth Marie Behrens Wheaton Warren. S.

Hometown: Warrenville

Class: Senior

Parents: Richard and Ann Behrens

Sponsor: Jillian Nowicki, counselor

Community service: Founder and president of South Outreach Club; Youth and Government through the YMCA; People's Resource Center volunteer; Family Empowerment Center mission trip

Personal statement: "The issue I find most pressing is the selfishness of generation 'me.' The ignorance of my technologically savvy and often spoiled generation disgusts me. My classmates and I are privileged and live in bubbles. I want us to realize that there are people without the basic necessities of life. I want to spread awareness and inspire people to help others."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a wonderful individual with ability and intelligence to add to a brilliant future. She will succeed in anything she tries due to her work ethic, confidence, and motivation. Her realistic approach helps to keep her grounded while her goals and dreams remain high, but absolutely attainable."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Meagan Gitchell St. Francis High School

Hometown: Glen Ellyn

Class: Senior

Parents: Craig and Rita Gitchell

Sponsor: Trudy Rigney, director of guidance

Community service: Group Work Camps, service trip to Oklahoma and Minnesota; Brother David Darst Center, service trip to Chicago; St. James youth group; St. Mary's mission, Service trip to Tohatchi, New Mexico; Student Ambassadors; Sleep Out Saturday; Wheaton Mural Project; Feed My Starving Children

Personal statement: "When our group got back to camp a leader challenged us to think about the poverty of our high school community. The challenge made me realize that people I see every day face a poverty of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, yet often I had just walked right by without noticing. This insight challenged me to stop and see people through God's eyes rather than my own."

Sponsor's endorsement: "This young lady is simply amazing. She excels in all areas of her life - academics, athletics, leadership, and service. She has a servant's heart and wants to make a difference in the world."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Carolyn Griffith St. Francis High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Gerry and Linda Griffith

Sponsor: Trudy Rigney, director of guidance

Community service: Faith and Fellowship Service Project; Students Against Destructive Decisions; SADD Haunted House volunteer; Darst Retreat Center volunteer; Oklahoma Mission Trip; KAIROS retreat team leader

Personal statement: "'I have been drawn to service not only for the warm feeling that I experienced every time I helped someone, but also for the people themselves. I have never met any people as nice, as nonjudgmental, or as content with life as the people that I have met through service, and through these encounters, I have learned how I should better shape my life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Not only is she a superb student, she has a heart of gold. Her spiritual life, her leadership, her character, and her sense of Christian values are among the finest that I have encountered in my 30 years in education. She truly reflects an example of peace and goodness to her peers."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Maryam Khan Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Safina and Zahur Khan

Sponsor: Tammy A. Kurth, counselor

Community service: ICN mentor and teaching assistant; Best Buddies; Edward Hospital volunteer; library volunteer; Student Council community service opportunities

Personal statement: "Volunteering has its own rewarding beauty, and I still have not found a better feeling than knowing that the effort I have given in volunteering has positively impacted someone's life. ... Volunteerism has been an aspect of my life even before high school, and now it has become my way of life because it is a very thrilling and enjoyable feeling to see a rewarding smile and impact on someone's life."

Sponsor's endorsement: "After spending many hours with Maryam, I found Maryam to be a very determined, involved, and intelligent young woman who exhibits many qualities that make her a strong leader ... In class, Maryam consistently contributed to classroom discussion and her interaction with peers was extremely positive; she was never reluctant to work with any type of student."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Taryn Kolnick Willowbrook High School

Hometown: Lombard

Class: Senior

Parents: Bob and Debbie Kolnick

Sponsor: Dan Krause, principal

Community service: Sunrise Home Program; St. Thomas Hospice; Key Club; Best Buddies; New Beginnings peer mentoring program

Personal statement: "Volunteer work has taught me the important life lesson that education is not limited to what we learn in class or at work. It has given me the opportunity to better understand the world off campus, outside of the classroom where people less fortunate than me and my friends and family try to get by each day without things most of us take for granted. My volunteer work has allowed me to witness firsthand the remarkable strength and determination of the human spirit. I feel very fortunate to have played even a small role in helping children cope with their misfortunes and succeed in a world sometimes dulled and insensitive to their challenges and special needs."

Sponsor's endorsement: "As a member of our leadership teams, Taryn helps to lead conversations related to improving the environment and culture of Willowbrook High School."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Tom LaBelle Wheaton Warrenville South High

Hometown: Wheaton

Class: Senior

Parents: Len and Stacy LaBelle

Sponsor: Julann Ferguson, counselor

Community service: Wheaton Warrenville South Student Council food drive organizer; DuPage Convalescent Center volunteer; St. Michael Religious Education Program classroom aid; organized a project to paint school's athletic wing

Personal statement: "We can accomplish more working together than any of us can on our own. It is important for all individuals to be charitable, work hard, and have compassion for others. I plan to continue my involvement in humanitarian projects throughout my life. I firmly believe that to those whom more is given, more is expected."

Sponsor's endorsement: "As a mature, intelligent, articulate young man, he has a bright future. His independence, initiative, warm personality, and strong work ethic will be his tools to success. Determined to succeed, he sets high standards for himself and more often than not reaches his goals. I am confident that he will flourish even in the most competitive educational setting and will thrive on the challenge."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Uma Mulakala Waubonsie Valley High School

Hometown: Aurora

Class: Senior

Parents: Nanda and Uma Mulakala

Sponsor: Sue Wilborne and Keith Kohler

Community service: United Students of Aurora Leaders; Organized a food drive for the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry; Salvation Army Bell Ringing/Red Kettle Christmas Campaign; Kiwanis Club of Aurora's annual Indian Creek cleanup; Business Professionals of America's Santa's breakfast fundraiser; Business Professionals of America's annual Special Olympics fundraiser

Personal statement: "I have spent the past four summers working as a volunteer and counselor at a summer camp as a part of USA Leaders for kids ages 4 to 10. Each week presents new challenges, opportunities, and surprises and I am often amazed at the wit, intelligence, and confidence that elementary schoolers can display."

Sponsor's endorsement: "Uma is a very diverse person. She shows the ability to balance activities both in and out of the classroom. Throughout her activities, she is a consummate professional in all that she does."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Kathleen Nannenhorn Glenbard West High

Hometown: Glen Ellyn

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Mary Nannenhorn

Sponsor: Natalie Morris and Gilda Ross

Community service: Sunday Morning Miracle teacher; Glen Ellyn Community Resource Center tutor and assistant teacher; Student Leadership Board teen leader; DARE/Students for Students; One Voice Community Choir singer and volunteer

Personal statement: "Until that moment, I never realized the struggles that children face as they come to a new country and learn a new language. I also learned the similarities between cultures and how a little laughter leads to better relationships and learning."

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is a devoted leader among her peers and respected by students and staff. Quite simply, she is the most self-motivated, creative, energetic, compassionate, student leader that I have ever encountered. This student is on a mission to improve our school climate - promoting kindness and modeling respect and inclusion for everyone. She excels in volunteerism and sets high goals for her future."

2009-10 Leadership Team
Sabina Shoeb College Prep School

Hometown: Streamwood

Class: Senior

Parents: Mohammed Shoeb and Masarrath Shoeb

Sponsor: Farhat Siddiqui, principal

Community service: Feedy For the Needy volunteer; St. Alexius Medical Center volunteer; Masjid Al-Huda Islamic Center Sunday school teaching assistant

Personal statement: "When I came upon the organization, Feedy For the Needy (FFN), it was a group of students that wanted to help at a soup kitchen. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. It was exactly what I was looking for - a way to meet those who were in need - both materialistically and, to a certain extent, psychologically. But nothing had prepared me to see the trauma these people had experienced. "

Sponsor's endorsement: "She is an individual who has consistently demonstrated her leadership capabilities in the most significant manner possible; by embodying the qualities and actions of a leader. ... Her efforts have resulted in shaping the direction of the student council to include a future that will consist of a generation of youth who have learned to give, without taking."

Honorable mentions

2009-10 Leadership Team
Salman Abdulmajeed College Prep School

Hometown: Lombard

Class: Senior

Parents: Mohammad and Fareeda Abdulmajeed

Sponsor: Farhat Siddiqui, principal

Community service: Founder and president of Feedy For the Needy; Helping Hand USA intern; Council of American International Relations-Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium member; GlenOaks Hospital volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Elizabeth Antosz Glenbard East High School

Hometown: Glendale Heights

Class: Senior

Parents: Janet Antosz

Sponsor: Kim Munro, school counselor

Community service: Darfur Fashion Show fundraiser; Big Brothers/Big Sisters; New Beginnings; Mentors Program

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

2009-10 Leadership Team
Karishma Bali Glenbard North High School

Hometown: Hanover Park

Class: Sophomore

Parents: Kanchan and Rakesh Bali

Sponsor: Pat Tylka, English teacher

Community service: DuPage Convalescent Center volunteer; helped raise money for Kids Against Hunger during "Up All Night" event; Club Interact member

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Katina Bolos Wheaton North High School

Hometown: Carol Stream

Class: Senior

Parents: Joan Gallagher-Bolos and Spiro Bolos

Sponsor: Scott Lilly, guidance counselor

Community service: Involved with Invisible Children, a group trying to raise public awareness about the war in Uganda

2009-10 Leadership Team
Christine Borkowicz Naperville Central High

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Barry and Nadine Borkowicz

Sponsor: Jennifer Norgaard, science teacher

Community service: Edward Hospital volunteer; Adapted P.E. Volunteer; Big Buddies; Naperville Public Library; Rotary Interact volunteer; National Honor Society student tutor

2009-10 Leadership Team
Paul Brar Montini Catholic High School

Hometown: Downers Grove

Class: Senior

Parents: Char Brar

Sponsor: Michael Cullinane, English teacher

Community service: Indian Boundary YMCA camp counselor; Indian Boundary YMCA youth league basketball coach; George Shimko Basketball Schools "shooting camp" assistant coach; National Honor Society student tutor; D.A.R.E. group leader

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Barbara Budach Downers Grove North High

Hometown: Woodridge

Class: Sophomore

Parents: Cliff and Zofia Budach

Sponsor: Nicole Gibson, counselor

Community service: Mission work in the Dominican Republic; PADS Warming Center volunteer; CCSM Youth Group; leads weekly Bible study group

2009-10 Leadership Team
Brittany Buikema Timothy Christian High School

Hometown: Woodridge

Class: Senior

Parents: Kyle and Patty Buikema

Sponsor: Fran David, director of counseling

Community service: Alzheimer's Walk volunteer; participated in mission trip to Kentucky; Student Ministries volunteer; intramural basketball volunteer; Feed My Starving Children volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Michelle L. Chatman Lisle Senior High School

Hometown: Lisle

Class: Senior

Parents: Randy and Kathy Chatman

Sponsor: Karin Irvine, guidance counselor

Community service: Special Olympics coach; student coordinator of volunteers for Scarecrow Scramble 5K race; fundraising luncheon volunteer for St. Joan of Arc Youth Ministry; freshman mentor; St. Joan of Arc Youth Ministry retreat leader

2009-10 Leadership Team
Will Cronin Immaculate Conception High School

Hometown: Elmhurst

Class: Senior

Parents: Bob and Beverly Cronin

Sponsor: Jean Field, guidance counselor

Community service: Repeat Your Cleats founder; Our Lady of the Angels Mission food distribution; Elmhurst Peer Jury; National Honor Society service projects

2009-10 Leadership Team
Kaitlyn Eichinger Lake Park High School

Hometown: Medinah

Class: Senior

Parents: Ellen Telles and Robert Eichinger

Sponsor: Gary Campana, counselor

Community service: Special Olympics volunteer; Peer Jury member; Hope's Circle of Friends volunteer; Senior Instructional Leadership

2009-10 Leadership Team
Michelle Fern Naperville Central High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Michael and Irene Fern

Sponsor: Barry Baldwin, communication arts teacher

Community service: Student Advisory Council; J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation; Adaptive P.E. volunteer; mission trip and community service through Grace Pointe Church; ProPapa Missions America mission trip to Honduras

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Megan Finan Benet Academy

Hometown: Woodridge

Class: Senior

Parents: John and Diane Finan

Sponsor: Amy Wesley, senior counselor

Community service: Woodridge Community Resource Center summer camp supervisor; St. Elizabeth Seaton Parish Christmas SHARE program; Christmas Drive Shopping Trip; Prentiss Creek Resource Center tutor; Our Lady of the Angels Food Pantry

2009-10 Leadership Team
Jenna Gasbarre Montini Catholic High School

Hometown: Westmont

Class: Senior

Parents: Victor and Gina Gasbarre

Sponsor: Maryann O'Neill, principal

Community service: St. Joseph Elementary School volleyball and track coach; organized seminars for World Financial Group; Kairos retreat organizer; peer ministry; student ambassador

2009-10 Leadership Team
Sarah Goldberg Glenbard South High School

Hometown: Wheaton

Class: Senior

Parents: Lynda and Joe Goldberg

Sponsor: David Daly, assistant principal for instruction

Community service: The Baby Bottle Campaign; PADS; Locks of Love volunteer; Pink for Hope volunteer; Key Club; Habitat for Humanity Club

2009-10 Leadership Team
Joshua Goralski Naperville North High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Mark and Peggy Goralski

Sponsor: Ryan Hall, counselor and Key Club sponsor

Community service: Coordinated holiday food drives for St. Thomas the Apostle Church; St. Thomas the Apostle retreat leader; Key Club board member; Volunteered to update and design the Web sites for the track and cross country teams; mission trips to Haiti and West Virginia

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Rebecca Howe Community High School

Hometown: West Chicago

Class: Senior

Parents: Terry and Jeff Howe

Sponsor: Ward Rau, counselor

Community service: Helped organize Key Club blood drive; helped organize tree trimming at the West Chicago Library with Girl Scout troop; aide at Camp Greenewood

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
Josh Lee Wheaton Academy

Hometown: West Chicago

Class: Junior

Parents: Mark and Penny Lee

Sponsor: Kim Rivera, Spanish teacher

Community service: Delnor Community Hospital messenger; Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital; Puente Del Pueblo tutor; People's Resource Center volunteer; Wayside Cross Ministries

2009-10 Leadership Team
Meghan E. Mandel Lisle Senior High School

Hometown: Lisle

Class: Senior

Parents: Robert and Lori Mandel

Sponsor: Kendra Meyer

Community service: St. Joan of Arc seventh-grade cheerleading coach; Sleep Out Saturday; Light the Night Walk; Lights of Lisle and Scarecrow Scramble volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Alexis Taylor Maxwell Addison Trail High School

Hometown: Addison

Class: Senior

Parents: Ron and Lesky Maxwell

Sponsor: Amy Ferraro, English instructor

Community service: Student Advisory Council to the Illinois State Board of Education; assistant cheer coach with the Addison Rec Club; Miss Addison; Addison Trail High School Parent University; physics tutor; Pay It Forward; Student Advisory Team

2009-10 Leadership Team
Alyssa Neal Willowbrook High School

Hometown: Lombard

Class: Senior

Parents: Jim and Carol Neal

Sponsor: Dan Krause, principal

Community service: Helped plan Relay For Life and Lauren Kiefer 5K run/walk; TLC Kids Camp volunteer; Willowbrook High School Key Club

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Kyle Newhouse Wheaton North High School

Hometown: Wheaton

Class: Senior

Parents: Stephen and Carolyn Newhouse

Sponsor: Robert Longenbaugh, director of guidance

Community service: Service projects in Chicago and the Dominican Republic through HYACKs, a College Church Youth Group; Bible study group leader; Feed My Starving Children volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Tori Partykevich Wheaton Academy

Hometown: Bartlett

Class: Junior

Parents: Michael and Jenny Partykevich

Sponsor: Kim Rivera, teacher

Community service: BCA Junior Hawks cheerleading coach; Puente del Pueblo tutor; Covenant Harbor Bible Camp counselor; World Relief refugee tutor

2009-10 Leadership Team
Judith Porzia Pellegrino Lake Park High School

Hometown: Itasca

Class: Senior

Parents: Frank and Rosanna Pellegrino

Sponsor: Jeanne Miller, school counselor

Community service: Saturday Buddies WDSRA; Breast Cancer "Swim for the Cure" volunteer; Special Olympics track team volunteer; Hope's Circle of Friends volunteer; helped with book distribution at the high school

2009-10 Leadership Team
Tyler Jon Ramir Addison Trail High School

Hometown: Bensenville

Class: Senior

Parents: Andrew and Debbie Ramir

Sponsor: Amy Ferraro, English instructor

Community service: Pay it Forward; volunteer work in Costa Rica; Special Olympics bowling volunteer; St. Phillip's religious education program volunteer; National Honor Society; peer mediation; Student Advisory Team

2009-10 Leadership Team
Elliott H. Reed Glenbard West High School

Hometown: Glen Ellyn

Class: Senior

Parents: Kim and Lane Reed

Sponsor: Kate Culloton, guidance counselor

Community service: Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center tutor; helped plan and raise money for St. Mark's mission trip to southeast Mexico; Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights volunteer; voter registrar for the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn; St. Mark's Episcopal Church youth group

2009-10 Leadership Team
Margaret Ryan Immaculate Conception High

Hometown: Elmhurst

Class: Senior

Parents: Tom and Mary Beth Ryan

Sponsor: Pamela Levar, principal

Community service: Student Youth Board for Cystic Fibrosis; Hinsdale Hospital volunteer; Notes to Neighbors Campaign for American Cancer Society; Annie Ryan Fun Run volunteer; Osteogenesis Imperfecta Golf Outing volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Vrusha Shastri Fenton High School

Hometown: Wood Dale

Class: Senior

Parents: Nipa and Lokesh Shastri

Sponsor: Denise Lippe, community relations and community service coordinator

Community service: Alexian Brothers Hospital volunteer; helped with events at school; temple volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Marcey Wennlund Naperville North High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: Susan and Lloyd Wennlund

Sponsor: Ryan Hantak, social studies instructor

Community service: Edward Hospital volunteer; organized neighborhood food drive for Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry; participated in mission trip to rebuild flood-damaged homes in Iowa; student activities office volunteer

2009-10 Leadership Team
Greg Williams Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown: Naperville

Class: Senior

Parents: George Williams and Lynn Williams

Sponsor: Hugh Flanders, social studies teacher

Community service: Mississippi Youth United Way day care volunteer; Top Teens of America social agency volunteer; Top Teens of America nursing home volunteer; Face to Face mentor

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