Local volunteers recognized with District 214's Distinguished Service Award

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The following volunteers were recognized Thursday, February, 21 with the District's Distinguished Service Awards for their dedication to our schools and programs. To view and download pictures, click here.

Bonnie Rendl – District 214 Community Education

With a passion for helping others, Bonnie Rendl truly exemplifies what it means to be a dedicated volunteer. Bonnie has been volunteering for three years as a Read to Learn tutor at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library and the Mount Prospect Public Library program sites. She also worked as a Read to Learn site supervisor for a year.

Read to Learn is a unique one-on-one volunteering opportunity where tutors help adult students with basic reading skills. Bonnie has volunteered 400 hours tutoring, an additional 40 hours of work with her student outside of class and over 50 hours in administrative help since 2015.

Always looking for opportunities to help, Bonnie organized a student book club to give adult learners a sense of belonging and create a safe environment for discussions. Bonnie volunteers in the Adult Education office, where she organizes the library and resource materials and helps with administrative tasks.

Heidi Hoblit Graham – Specialized Schools

For the past two years, Heidi Hoblit Graham, president of the League of Women Voters of Arlington Heights, has been instrumental in helping students in our specialized schools. Specifically, Heidi has secured gift cards for all Newcomer Center students during the holiday season, bringing much needed joy to students and families in great need.

It’s incredible to witness the creative endeavors Heidi has taken to promote the Newcomer Center and secure charitable donations for our families. Heidi has been diligent in not only collecting gift cards during League of Women Voters book club events but also with offering cycling classes at a local gym on a donation basis, as well as securing small gift donations for our student birthday closet.

During the week of finals, while students had no access to the school cafeteria, Heidi delivered pizzas to our appreciative students and staff. 

Cheryl Griffin – Buffalo Grove High School

Cheryl Griffin has been on the Friends of the Orchestra board for the past four years and has been a tremendous asset with unwavering support. She consistently goes above and beyond regular duties asked of her and always has the success of the students and program as her first priority.

Cheryl has organizational skills that are beyond compare, is efficient in all that she does and has mastered communication skills with the ability to be direct when the need arises, but always with a friendly demeanor.

Perhaps Cheryl’s best quality is her willingness to seek solutions. When a dilemma arises, she is eager to help solve the issue. Students have gotten to know Cheryl because of her helpfulness in the classroom with such things as uniform fittings and fundraisers, and parents have gotten to know Cheryl from her leadership at ticket tables, FOTO meetings and beyond.  

John McCabe & Kris DaPra-McCabe – Elk Grove High School

Kris DaPra-McCabe and John McCabe have been tremendous assets to Elk Grove High School. John has helped students connect with the Cook County Forest Preserve District on curriculum and service projects that were absent a few years ago, and Kris has assisted our Student Services Department and teaching staff in the area of diabetes awareness.

It is in the Marching Grenadier program, however, that the McCabes have made an unprecedented impact. The McCabes not only host “build sessions” at their home, during which they construct the scenery to be employed in award-winning marching band performances, but also work many hours behind the scenes to help students every year.

The holiday tree and wreath sale, our most critical fundraiser, would not function without John’s oversight, coordination and tolerance for standing out in the cold, night after night. Our Band Booster website and spirit wear sales would not function without Kris' organization and dedication.

Mike & Diana Hrametz– John Hersey High School

Mike and Diana Hrametz – a 1985 Hersey alumnus and 1984 Prospect graduate, respectively –have three children currently attending Hersey but their support for our community began much earlier than their children's arrival.

As owners of Rammy’s Sub Contractors, Mike and Diana recognized early on that our students and staff love their food, so it was only natural to form a partnership. For at least a dozen years, Mike and Diana have set up shop at our homecoming football games, selling their sandwiches and donating profits to help offset prom costs. For the last four years, they have sponsored the cost of tickets for fine arts performances. They're involved in many philanthropic efforts, providing food or clothing for these events.

For the past several years, Hersey has ended its annual food drive at Rammy’s, where Mike and Diana feed over 50 hungry high school students who spent the day delivering food to local food pantries.

Andrew Schmit – Prospect High School

Andrew Schmit had a transformative influence on the Prospect Athletic Boosters while serving as its president from 2015 to 2018. Under his leadership, he empowered the Athletic Boosters to create a comprehensive vision to support the endeavors of our student-athletes.

Andrew led many significant changes that have established the framework for growth, including evolving the group from a “parent organization” into a nonprofit entity. Andrew spearheaded increased collaboration between all of District 214's athletic booster organizations so each school could learn from one another’s best practices and better serve their student-athletes. One of the greatest developments that occurred was the creation of Boosterpalooza, which brings Prospect families together for a night of food, fun and music.

Under Andrew’s leadership, the Boosters created the Re-U-Knight program of reusing gently worn sports equipment so no student ever was denied an opportunity of playing on a team or trying out for a new sport because of financial hardship.

Leslie Klancik – Rolling Meadows High School

Leslie Klancnik has been the president of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at Rolling Meadows High School for the past four years. She is a collaborative and creative leader, and under Leslie's leadership, there has been an expansion of teacher scholarship opportunities, a greater connection and cohesiveness with the athletic booster club, support to establish a theater parent booster club and an enhanced focus on fiscal responsibility so that more funds can be dedicated to support student activities.

Leslie encourages presentations at the PTO meetings. She welcomes teachers to meetings to share about the various career pathways offered, including participating in facility tours.

Leslie welcomes activity sponsors to meetings to share their creative ideas and ways that the PTO may be able to get involved, such as with the STAMPEDE Spirit Group and the 5th quarter activity events after home football games that are now sponsored by the PTO.

Scott Miller – Wheeling High School

Scott Miller, a mechanical engineer from The Innovation Machine in Chicago, is an integral part of making Wheeling High School’s venture into the robotics and automation realm a reality.

In May 2018, Wheeling was fortunate to have acquired four ABB industrial robotic arms and curriculum that can lead students to achieve an industry certification for automation and robotics programming. After examining the lab space and reaching out to our industry partners, Scott and his team provided countless hours of design collaboration, resources and materials to our school to ensure that the space was industry grade. Our limited budget for the tables and enclosures was stretched far beyond what we could have imagined thanks to Scott and his team.

Wheeling's staff and students are exceedingly grateful to Scott for creating an exemplary space for student success, and most appreciative of his passion for education, community charity and providing a pipeline of skilled technical students.

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