Ten community members were honored Thursday, February 21 by the Township High School District 214 school board for unselfishly giving of their time, energy, and resources.
These volunteers were recognized as part of the school district’s annual Distinguished Service Awards program. The 2013 Distinguished Service Award honorees were selected by a school/program administrator.
They are: Ray Scudder, District 214 Administration Center; Jack & Eloise DeCarlo, District 214 Community Education; Rose Bissonnette, Buffalo Grove High School; Laura Wolff, Elk Grove High School; Dr. Richard Tuttle, John Hersey High School; Ron Godby, Prospect High School; Mildred Palmer, Rolling Meadows High School; Juanita Perez Bassler, Vanguard School; and Leonard Nielsen, Wheeling High School.
Ray Scudder - Hobby Lobby, District 214 Administration Center
In August 2011, District 214 and Hobby Lobby partnered to develop a community-based work program for special education students. Since then, Hobby Lobby has provided valuable work experience for 16 students totaling over 2,000 working hours.
As the Mt. Prospect Hobby Lobby co-manager, Ray Scudder has taken a special interest in the vocational program and students. He treats each student with dignity and respect and demonstrates a genuine interest in their well being. Ray also takes into consideration that each student's ability level is different and allows each one to work at his/her own pace, facing items, cleaning, and working in the warehouse. He has been instrumental in creating and finding ways to adapt tasks so that each student is successful.
Ray's impact on students' self esteem and overall confidence is tremendous. He plays a pivotal role in helping them develop the skills necessary to succeed and achieve their individual goals. During the holidays last year, Ray showed his appreciation by giving each student a holiday card with a monetary gift. He also collaborated with his co-manager to employ two District 214 special education graduates.
Jack & Eloise DeCarlo
District 214 Community Education
When Jack and Eloise DeCarlo, longtime Mount Prospect residents, walked into their first Intergenerational Prom committee meeting seven years ago, little did they know that their volunteer work would take them from "Shanghai Moon" to "Rock Around the Clock," this year's theme.
Through the years, they have given a tremendous amount of their time and energy to planning Community Education’s spring Intergenerational Prom. They take great pride and express their joy in working with high school students and older adults every year. Imagine their delight when they were crowned King and Queen at the 2011 prom, "A Royal Affair."
Jack and Eloise not only help plan proms but their generosity extends beyond just donating their time and great ideas. They have consistently donated Cubs tickets, gift baskets, decorations, and much more.
Rose Bissonnette BGHS
Rose's five-year commitment to the orchestra program and Buffalo Grove Parent Association (BGPA) has contributed to both organizations' success.
It is not uncommon to see her during the school day or evenings quietly helping various organizations. She happily volunteers her time with large funding projects, fundraisers, and parent communications.
Rose has been a board member on the orchestra’s parent organization, Friends of the Orchestra, and served as the Orchestra Market Day Coordinator for the past five years. Last year, she served as a co-coordinator for the Pops Concert, one of the biggest events in the orchestra program.
As an active BGPA member, Rose often bakes treats for students and staff for numerous events. Although she has had two children in the orchestra program, she is often at many other fine arts performances and activities supporting the Buffalo Grove Bison.
Laura Wolff EGHS
Laura is an outstanding ambassador for Elk Grove's choral music program. She is the catalyst that “makes it all happen.” In her role as Choral Booster Board President, Laura helps the boosters assume responsibility for most of the logistical choral program details, so that the director can focus on the students' music education. She assures that there are enough parent volunteers to usher, fundraise, and “direct traffic” at concerts. She works with the director to coordinate end-of-year recognition events and keeps choral parents informed through meetings, newsletters, emails, and website updates. All students benefit due to her strong leadership.
Laura has been the mastermind of numerous fundraisers, including the Grenadier blanket. Blankets sold now adorn the walls in homes throughout Elk Grove and Des Plaines and many college campuses throughout the nation. Other fundraisers Laura has helped to organize within the last several years include Krispy Kreme, Red Mango, Dippin' Dots, carwash, and karaoke night to name a few. All have helped to raise significant dollars to support the music program and students.
Dr. Richard Tuttle JHHS
Since 2002, Dr. Richard Tuttle has served as John Hersey High School’s team physician providing athletes and coaches with expert medical care. His unselfish commitment to the Hersey community is seen in countless ways. He always makes his services available to the school by standing on the sidelines at football games, allowing staff to schedule last minute office visits for athletes, being available for phone consultations, and providing medical advice on athletes' care for the creation of district policies and procedures. He was a great resource when the District 214 Head Injury Guidelines were being developed. Dr. Tuttle has provided all these services and more, while refusing to be compensated for his time and expertise. When asked about compensation, he stated that he felt strongly about giving back to the community in some way, especially when it involves youth.
Ron Godby PHS
When Ron Godby is not busy with his job as a Northwestern University detective, he likely can be found documenting significant moments in Prospect students' and staff members' lives with a camera. Whether it is on stage, the field, or at public performances, Ron can always be found capturing significant moments with his camera. He routinely takes headshots and pictures for the Illinois Music Educators Association and District 7 qualifiers. His skills at the GRAMMY concert, where he voluntarily took pictures of the Grammy, its representative, and Prospect staff were especially appreciated. He also stayed after the concert to capture pictures of students holding the award. His "kids in action" photographs enable students and others to relive those special moments.
Ron’s service extends well beyond the events that his own children are involved. His pictures have been used as a tool to promote Prospect students in ways that otherwise might not have been possible. Simply put, Ron selflessly serves with a passion.
Mildred Palmer RMHS
Mildred Palmer is an outstanding ambassador for Rolling Meadows High School’s Rotary Interact Club. She dedicates her time by working with students on numerous service projects, including last year's bone marrow drive. Nearly 140 staff and students swabbed their cheeks so they could be listed as potential donors on the National Bone Marrow Registry. She also helped students make and donate 50 fleece blankets to a local hospital for pediatric patients fighting cancer, provide care packages, and create more than 350 cards for SuperSibs, a volunteer organization that ensures siblings of children with cancer are not forgotten.
The RMHS Interact International Week was a resounding success due to Millie's efforts. She and the students worked collaboratively with Compassionate Journeys, an organization whose mission is to prevent child trafficking in Ghana, to raise funds to help build an orphanage. Under her leadership, the Rotary Interact Club has held several fundraising activities including the wildly popular “Kiss the Pig” contest, to reach its $10,000 goal.
Juanita Perez Bassler VS
For as long as Vanguard School has been helping students graduate from District 214, Juanita Perez Bassler has been assisting Vanguard students explore Harper College for their post-secondary education. Employed as an admissions outreach and multicultural recruiting specialist, Juanita is always willing, able, and excited to introduce Vanguard students to Harper College.
Each year, Juanita works closely with staff to schedule Harper College field trips for both English and non-English speaking families. While there she discusses both academic and career planning and assists with admission applications. If necessary, she also will visit Vanguard School to ensure the paperwork is completed and answer any questions. She is instrumental in assisting with the transitional process from high school to college. Juanita understands the challenges some students overcome to graduate, and this insight enables her to guide Vanguard students down a path of success at Harper College.
Leonard Nielsen WHS
For the past decade Len has been a driving force behind numerous aspects of the Wheeling High School “Wildcat” Band Program. Currently, he is a Wheeling Instrumental League board member serving as pit crew chief. Len makes sure the marching band has chaperones, water, truck(s) for the equipment, drivers, photographer, videographer, and so much more. He has traveled extensively with the bands to various events including SuperState, Music for All National Concert Band Festival, Disney World, and nearly 40 marching band festivals.
Active with the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival, Len was instrumental in being one of the first to record the bands' performances and produce DVD copies for distribution the same night.
Len's best quality, however, is his humbleness. Although he shies away from the spotlight, he is quick to see that everyone around him is recognized for their contributions to the band organization. Leonard Nielsen is a great leader who has played a significant role in the Wheeling High School band program's success.