Riverside Township Lions Club member Jack Wiaduck (right) presents Ann and Steve Kubiczky (at left) with the Bill Jansky Distinguished Citizen Award plaque while club President Joe Dvorak looks on. The award honors township residents who have demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteerism and service to the community.

Local students named SCOTY Award winners

The West 40 Intermediate Educational Service Center named their School Citizen of the Year (SCOTY) Award winners in March, recognizing students “who have been chosen by their schools as ‘good citizens and models for others to emulate.'”

In addition to academic excellence, principals and teachers use criteria developed by the schools themselves to help choose their SCOTY nominee.

At Riverside-Brookfield High School, where school and community volunteer service is used as criteria for selection, the SCOTY Award went to junior Ezequiel “Zeke” Linares.

At the SCOTY Award ceremony on March 19, Linares was described as “an outstanding role model and energetic leader.” In addition to being a multi-sport athlete, he is an officer for Best Buddies, a club that pairs students with intellectual disabilities with regular education students. He’s also a member of the Association of Students for Tolerance, was a student coordinator for Salvation Army bell ringers and is a member of the RBHS Student Association.

Meanwhile, eighth-grader Casey Whisler was chosen the SCOTY Award winner at S.E. Gross Middle School in Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95, while Emily Rivoli was chosen the SCOTY winner from Brook Park School.

Whisler is involved in many fine arts programs in addition to being a member of the Builder’s Club, Girl Scouts and the volleyball and cheerleading teams. She also volunteers for Brookfield’s Project NICE, helped decorate for the Veterans Day assembly and helped sort supplies for foreign families in need.

Volunteers recognized

Brookfield Zoo volunteers Diana Tomasiewicz and Don Krause were recognized earlier in April for their contributions to the zoo during National Volunteer Week, whose 40th anniversary was celebrated April 6-12 by six Chicago-area cultural institutions, including Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, The Morton Arboretum, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Tomasiewicz and Krause contributed 327 and 659 volunteer hours respectively at Brookfield Zoo in 2013, sharing their knowledge about animals with visitors, as mentors to new volunteers and by assisting in zoo special events and teacher workshops. 

On stage

Brookfield resident Tom McGregor plays the role of Hal Carter, the handsome drifter who wanders into a Labor Day picnic in a Midwestern town and promptly upsets the populace in William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Picnic, at the Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton Ave.

The play runs April 24 to May 4. Tickets are $18 and $20. Call 708-246-3380 or visit online at www.theatreofwesternsprings.com for ticket and show information. 

On campus

Katie Maxwell, of Riverside, a freshman at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., participated with Ole Spring Relief 2014 during her spring break to help clean up Washington, Ill., which was ravaged by a tornado in November 2013.

Abby Willinger, of Riverside, was one of about 60 University of Iowa students to participate in the 2014 Hawkeye Caucus, held April 2 at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

The event connects Iowa students with state leaders while showcasing the people and programs from the University of Iowa that make an impact across the state.

Riverside resident Bilaal Hassan, a student at Lewis University in Romeoville, has been awarded a New Careers in Nursing Scholarship through the university. Each NCIN Scholar has already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and is making a career switch to nursing through an accelerated nursing degree program. Hassan was one of five Lewis University students to receive scholarships.

Riverside resident Andreja Siliunas, a graduate of Trinity High School in River Forest and a senior sociology major at the College of Wooster (Ohio), received the David Guldin Award in Sociology and Anthropology at Wooster’s 44th Annual Recognition Banquet.

The award is presented to a senior sociology major who exhibits academic excellence and is also involved in extracurricular campus or community activities while showing direct concern for the welfare of others.

Brookfield residents Dana Dombrowski and Brenden Kelley, both sophomores at Lyons Township High School, were among the 29 students to serve as delegates at the annual Illinois Junior Classical League state convention.

The LTHS students, who take Latin at the school, attended a banquet, dressed in togas, led a discussion on Roman art and architecture and competed in Latin academic and cultural contests.

Dombrowski placed first in the costume competition, while Kelley placed fifth in Latin grammar.

The following local students were named to the honor rolls at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park for the third quarter of the 2013-14 school year:

Attaining A Honor Roll status were Brookfield residents Drew Dunker, Rebecca Letcher, Brittany Schneider, Robert Schneider and Jacquie Skokna; North Riverside residents Guillermo Arroyo, Connor O’Neill, Emylee Zdarsky and Danny Zontos; and Riverside resident Hana Sedivy.

Attaining B Honor Roll status were Brookfield residents Gloria Corona, Gina Crisanti, Zachary Johnson and Alex Zuniga and Riverside residents Gregory Bernasek and Brendan Sedivy.

Riverside-Brookfield High School students Rebecca Burke, Parley Belsey and Andrea Spinsanto were Gold Key winners are the 2014 regional Scholastic Art Competition, earning spots in the national show in New York City. All won the awards in the drawing category.

Four Riverside-Brookfield High School students were medalists at the Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) district competition, qualifying for the state competition in April.

Isabella Pena won a gold medal for fashion display. Chrissy Gruber and Mimi Pena won a gold medal and were named most outstanding for International Experience. Natalie Gutierrez won a silver medal in cake decorating.

The Riverside-Brookfield High School chess team finished 73rd out of 138 teams at the Illinois state chess championships. First-year player Konrad Kroczynski placed fourth out of 141 players in his division, earning him all-state status. First-year players Ben Roussin and Tristan Kotlicky finished in the top third. Other team members included Collin Taylor, Chris Detloff, Mario Crespo and Lukas Kulbis.

Brookfield resident Denis Keljalic, a senior at Lyons Township High School, was part of the school’s Scholastic Bowl team, which won the IHSA regional tournament, upsetting Chicago-Latin, the favorite in the tourney.

Scholastic Bowl is a fast-paced game similar to “Jeopardy,” but played by five-member teams. Questions are from a variety of categories from social studies to mathematics to fine arts.

David Buksa, a member of the Riverside-Brookfield High School math team, received a perfect score in the Algebra 2 competition at the Lemont Invitational in February, helping his team, which included Zeke Linares, Margaret Miezio, Jack Robling and Wendy Zhou, to fourth place in the competition.

Brookfield resident Abigail Zabrodsky, a sophomore at Lyons Township High School, was one of 10 LTHS students who participated in the IHSA Congressional Debate State tournament in Springfield.

Zabrodsky was one of two sophomores to make it to the semifinal round.

RBHS students named National Merit finalists

     Four Riverside-Brookfield High School students — Joseph K. Aieta, Katherine L. Alaks, Clare E. Bollnow and Connor A. Culloden — have been named National Merit Scholarship finalists, meaning they are now eligible to receive one of the 8,000 scholarships worth $2,500 that are awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation annually.

     In 2012, 1.5 million students across the country took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in order to enter the 2014 scholarship competition. In September 2013, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced 16,000 semifinalists, who then had to fulfill a number of requirements to advance to the finalist level.

     About 15,000 semifinalists were named finalists. Scholarships are awarded after a committee evaluates finalists' academic achievements, test scores, a written recommendation from their high schools and an essay by each finalist.

     Scholarship winners will be announced in May.