DeKALB – Now in its 18th year, the Resource Bank N.A. Centennial Service Award is presented to area high school graduates who demonstrate a commitment to their communities through participation in volunteer and civic activities during high school.
Each of the top 10 students, chosen from more than 100 applicants, will receive $1,000 toward their continued education. Honored this year are:
Grayson Burns, Sycamore High School, traveled on four mission trips across the country with LIFE missions and spent time with terminally ill children at Give Kids The World. Over the years, he was a participant with Feed my Starving Children, trick or treating and ice cream socials at Oak Crest, and helped host summer sports camps for young students.
Abigail Eckman, Leland High School, planted and watered flowers in downtown Leland, picked up leaves from houses around Somonauk and helped with the Leland Harvest Fest. She was in charge of the volunteers for Growing Hope Harvest for three years and has participated in Feed My Starving Children, as well as cleaning up a stretch of road with her FFA Chapter. She assisted with a drug addiction support program by babysitting at her local church and helped with the Leland Lions Club auction for three years.
Benjamin Gehant, Sycamore High School, was a camp counselor at Camp Leo, a Lions Club-sponsored organization in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He also went on LIFE mission trips to Florida and Michigan. He is the director of young ministry at Saint Mary’s of Sycamore, a member of student council, and volunteers as a basketball coach.
Seth Harebcke, Sycamore High School, is active in the Crossview High School youth group where they participate in service projects locally and in other locations. His participation took him to Mirebalais, Haiti, where he volunteered with children. He also is a member of Key Club, the National Honor Society, student council and the Senior Business Leadership Academy.
Tara Leininger, Rochelle Township High School, participated in Key Club, serving as a sophomore representative, treasurer and vice-president. She was a teaching assistant for HUB project, was the Hillcrest site coordinator for the Rochelle Free Summer Lunch Program, and worked as a crew member and trainer at the Rochelle Christian Food Pantry. In addition, she was a volunteer at The Kitchen Table and a library monitor and committee chair for Make a Difference Day. She also participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and the WRHL Easter Egg Hunt.
Jacob Meyer, Sandwich High School, helped with Growing Hope Globally’s Harvest Celebration and has volunteered at the Leland Lions Club Auction for the past four years. He participated in road-side cleanup and has helped with concessions at various school sporting events. He also volunteered with the Jellystone Parks Rescue Rangers Pet Rescue.
Courtney Mulligan, Sycamore High School, volunteered at Kids Klub, an after-school bible program, and at the DeKalb County Nursing Home. She was a teacher’s assistant, a Sandwich Fair student ambassador, and a member of Youth Engaged in Philanthropy. She volunteered with the Pumpkin Fest race crew and craft fair, Feed my Starving Children, DeKalb County Hospice and her church nursery. She is a member of National Honor Society and is active with Sycamore High School Strings.
Jayna Ratliff, Genoa-Kingston High School, participated in LIFE Missions, was in Girl Scouts for seven years and was a member of Impact Club, a ministry-based program that helps girls develop their gifts and abilities. She was involved in a mission to Peoria, where she helped fill backpacks with school supplies to give to disadvantaged youth. She also delivered food for Meals on Wheels, packaged food with Feed My Starving Children, and served meals at a local low-income housing complex.
Megan Sapita, Sycamore High School, participated with Interact Club and was on the St. Mary Peer Ministry Team, leading groups that teach younger children. She volunteered as a camp aide at Girl Scout Camp since eighth grade and has worked as a server and on the cleanup crew for the Rotary’s Pancake Breakfast. She’s also participated in the Rotary’s Annual Work Day since she was a freshman.
Sophia Winckler, Leland High School, was active with her church’s vacation Bible School and Preschool Summer Camp and assisted with the Leland Lions Club Annual Auction. As a member of Student Council, she volunteered to do improvement projects around Leland High School, such as painting the fence of the playground, softball dugouts, parking posts, and park equipment. She also helped with Feed My Starving Children.