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10 local teens honored with community service award

The Navy League United States AurorCouncil 2012 BrattCivic Youth Award Winner Ariel Smith senior West AurorHigh School

The Navy League of the United States Aurora Council 2012 Brattin Civic Youth Award Winner Ariel Smith, senior West Aurora High School

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Updated: December 14, 2012 4:24PM



AURORA — Ten local teens were honored with the Brattin Civic Youth Award at the 43rd Annual Pearl Harbor Day Luncheon in Aurora this week.

The Civic Youth Award is presented to students who show significant civic involvement, academic excellence and well-rounded achievement.

The award, sponsored by the Navy League and the Rotary Club of Aurora, is named for the late Ted Brattin, a World War II pilot and Aurora Rotary Club charter president who was dedicated to recognizing citizenship, service and leadership among youth.

The students honored were:

Madeline Bozik, 13, Herget Middle School. Bozik has collected, cleaned and donated more than 500 items of winter clothing through the charity she created, “Maddie’s Mitten March.” She is a Girl Scout and junior naturalist at the Fox Valley Park District, and donated four 17-inch braids to Locks of Love

“Maddie shows her kind heart and drive to make a difference in her community without ever asking anything in return,” her aunt, Tina Varney, wrote when nominating Bozik.

Tanner Cassidy, 16, East Aurora High School. Cassidy plays for the high school marching band, jazz band and wind ensemble, and for the Aurora American Legion Band. He has completed more than 110 community service hours and is involved in school newspaper, student council, music honor society and book fair.

“The nomination calls for a student who has shown leadership, dedication to the community and civic involvement, and is dependable and helpful, and I believe that Tanner exceeds all of the above,” wrote school counselor Deanna Nemchock.

Artan Emini, 17, Yorkville High School. Emini, who is trilingual, is ranked second in his high school class and is captain of the school’s soccer team. He volunteers with special needs students, with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and as a math tutor to his peers.

“I truly believe that Artan embodies every quality that an institution of higher learning desires,” wrote math teacher Michael Duback.

Nicole Hanlon, 18, Kaneland High School. Hanlon is the captain of Kaneland’s soccer team, member of the science club and part of the World Youth in Science and Engineering team that competed at state. She volunteers at Heartland Blood Center, Golden Kiwanis and St. Gall Catholic Church.

“Nicole Hanlon is a very caring, empathetic young woman who is driven to succeed in all areas of her life,” wrote student services director Laura McPhee. “I am inspired and moved to know that it is her wish to work in the medical field.”

Steven Harrison, 16, Waubonsie Valley High School. Harrison has taken on a leadership role with the student council and was voted Class of 2014 Representative of the Year by his peers. He was also voted Best Male Speaker and Most Credible Speaker in his class. He volunteers with his church.

“In addition to being involved in his school and community, Steven is a mature and responsible young man with very pleasant manners,” wrote teachers Alex Retner and Taylor Drefcinski. “He is a well-rounded student and is liked by all his peers.”

Julia Hoyda, 16, Rosary High School. While serving as an aide with the Girl Scouts, Hoyda taught young girls about nature and first aid. She volunteered at religious camp and designed a program for clients of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association in Big Rock.

“I highly endorse Julia Hoyda,” wrote Sister Patricia Burke. “She has a great heart and an outstanding work ethic.”

John Mason, 18, Marmion Academy. Mason has contributed 414 hours of community service on mission trips. He has also worked for many years at Equine Dreams charity, herding, cleaning and feeding horses that are used in physical therapy for students with special needs. He is also a mentor in juvenile court system.

“Loyalty and respect for others are qualities that John abides by and have helped him in his decisions to this day,” wrote Daniel Thorpe, Marmion’s director of college guidance.

Nathaniel Moxon, 17, Naperville North High School. Moxon organized a toy drive during the holidays and a picnic for Little Friends. He is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has mentored students on the dangers of social media abuse, bullying and drug abuse.

Director of student services Jeffery Farson said Moxon is “completely committed to making the lives of others better”.

Rachel Rahn, 17, Aurora Central Catholic. She is in the top 2 percent of graduating seniors and a three-sport athlete. She is active in her church, volunteers with autistic children and helped the school organize fundraisers.

“Her determination, diligence, and ability to guide others are winning qualities,” teacher Sharon Elger wrote.

Ariel Smith, 17, West Aurora High School. Smith is a member of the principal’s advisory committee. She has volunteered at Jennings Terrace retirement center, Quad County Urban League, Main Baptist Church, Sow A Seed Foundation and the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry.

“Hard work, commitment, dedication and leadership continue to be a part of Ariel’s personality as she takes on the next endeavor of post-secondary education,” wrote school social worker Tomary Walls.



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