DeKALB – Now in its 19th year, the Resource Bank Centennial Service Award is a scholarship presented by Resource Bank to local 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 90 applicants, will receive $1,000 toward their continued education. Honored this year are:
Olivia Simmons, Genoa-Kingston High School, served as president of the United Way Youth Board, helping to purchase and deliver school supplies, and purchasing and distributing Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas gifts for families in need. She also established Goodies for Good, a charity bakery that gives its freewill donations to local charities. Over the years, she was a participant with Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, Opportunity House, Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce, and she was a student ambassador and peer mentor at GKHS.
Mary Seville, Somonauk High School, participated in the Future Teacher program, assisting in a fourth-grade classroom with daily activities. She volunteered her time at the Bethany First Step Preschool summer camp program and went on a mission trip with her church to Houston, Texas, to help clean up debris and rebuild areas that were destroyed by a hurricane. She has participated in Feed My Starving Children, served community Thanksgiving meals, volunteered at Our Sharing Pantry, and assisted with Leland Fire Department fundraisers.
Aidan Bengford, DeKalb High School, earned his Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts by building and installing boxes in three local parks to store hats and mittens for those in need. He also was a member of the National Honor Society and participated in multiple fundraisers and events such as: peer tutoring, Feed My Starving Children, and the school coffee shop. He volunteered his time at First Congregational Church in the nursery and at other church events and he was a member of student council.
Nina Mitchell, DeKalb High School, was elected the first African-American chair of YEP where she led site visits to local nonprofits and she worked with her team to provide them funding. She served as an election judge for three years and was a member of the Youth Advisory Council, 70th District, where she met monthly with state Rep. Jeff Keicher for a youth perspective on current legislation and state issues. She was also president of Key Club, the National Honor Society, student council, and she was a member of the Principals Advisory Board.
Austin Bunge, Sycamore High School, participated in Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout rank by planning a cleanup and beautification project for Fairdale Park after it was destroyed by a tornado. During his time in Boy Scouts, he also volunteered with six other Eagle Scout projects in the community. He was captain of the varsity soccer team and volunteered at Salem Food Pantry each Saturday, transporting and boxing up food to be delivered to families in need.
Kelsey Mulligan, Sycamore High School, volunteered weekly at Kids Klub, an after-school Bible program, as well as participated at the Kids' Klubs Bible Camp as a counselor, leading and directing activities. She volunteered at the DeKalb County Nursing Home, led children in story and game times with her children's worship group, and she participated in her church's community Christmas dinner. She also volunteered with the Pumpkin Fest race crew and craft fair, Feed My Starving Children, DeKalb County Hospice and was a member of the SHS String Quartet.
Anna Ratliff, Genoa-Kingston High School, participated in LIFE Missions, serving communities in need. Her responsibilities included painting houses, serving food to the elderly and pulling weeds. She was also in Girl Scouts for six years and a member of Impact Club, a ministry-based program that helps girls develop their gifts and abilities. 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.
Erik Handel, Sycamore High School, earned his Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts by creating and installing 12 multi-chamber bat houses in local forest preserves. He volunteered at Russell Woods Forest Preserve doing conservation work including collecting seeds, clearing brush, removing invasive species, and collecting trash. He was involved with Project Warm, distributing winter coats to local families in need, and he worked the concession stand at SHS sporting events.
Abigail Shepley, St. Edward Central High School, has served as a Women's Service League youth leader for five years and her main responsibility was organizing and collecting coats and winter clothing for local charities. She was involved with the St. Edward Booster Club and the varsity cheerleading team, hosting cheer camps for children with disabilities. She served as co-president of Interact Club, which is affiliated with Rotary International, and volunteered at Animal House Shelter, Operation North Pole, and at St. Charles Borromeo School.
Jared Grubbs, Sycamore High School, has gone on several mission trips to a wide range of places, including Brazil, New York and Florida. He volunteered with Feed My Starving Children, Meals on Wheels, and CCC KidsWorld. He has been involved with Goodfellows by delivering gifts to local families in need during the holidays. He also volunteered with the Sycamore baseball team cleaning up a portion of Peace Road and spending time at the Spartan Food Pantry.