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BJWC's Character Counts Honors 2014 Winners

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    Courtesy for Rey Mena

      Barrington Junior Women's Club (BJWC) community initiative, Character Counts! (CC!) was launched in the Barrington area by BJWC in 2012.

      A national program, Character Counts goal is to promote core ethical values through "Six Pillars of Character" - Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. The recipients of these awards usually recognize someone who is not in the limelight yet whose character impacts the community around them.

      This year's award ceremony was held on Monday evening during the Village Trustee Board Meeting in Barrington. Presenting the awards were BJWC CC! committee members Tiffany Andreae, Lisa Olszewski, Jenn Martins, and Laura Powroznyk. Karen Darch remarked that it was a night that the Trustees look forward to as it highlights the character of the community around us. Friends, family and colleagues came to honor the nominees as well as BJWC members.

      Nominations are open to the community and the nominee must reside or work in the District 220 area. Nominees can range from students, coaches & teachers, employees of local businesses, community volunteers, and neighbors, etc. Nominees must show the values of the Six Pillars and be verified by two references.

      We would like to recognize our 2014 winners for their selfless work which makes the Barrington community a better place:

      Lauren Caffe

      Lauren, an eighth grader at Station Middle School, is highly regarded by her teachers, a member of the National Junior Honors Society and a leader among her peers. Her teachers describe her as an invaluable resource, an advocate for others, one who is quick at offering assistance to students who are struggling. She helps others with great passion and a positive spirit.

      Stacy Lang

      Mrs. Lang shares her passion for learning and reading through her role as the librarian at Roslyn Road Elementary School. Her attention to students and hours dedicated to learning has impressed parents, students and administrators alike. She is keenly aware of the reading level and interests of every student at Roslyn. Mrs. Lang introduced several innovations at Roslyn, including library stations that focus on everything from typing, PowerPoint projects, internet safety to proper etiquette for speakers.

      Char Doty and Lonnie Smith

      Described as the ‘Dynamic Duo of the Front Office’, these ladies represent the front line of Barbara Rose Elementary School. In addition to their formal administrative duties, they routinely provide a helping hand to those who come to the office, give direction to new families, and go above and beyond to support PTO projects. Not only do they exhibit an extraordinary work ethic, they have created personal relationships with every student in school.

      Robin Ross-Henning

      Robin Ross -Henning, takes the phrase ‘Reading is fundamental’ to heart. She recognized that many families at Sunny Hill Elementary did not have access to books in their homes, had difficulty travelling to the local library and often did not have access to reading materials during the summer. It was her caring and passion for the students of Sunny Hill that inspired her to found a year-round book exchange accessible to these students. She organized a book collection and purchased a weatherproof shelter to ensure the books were accessible year round. She has enlisted others in the community to create this ongoing library to encourage success in reading.

      Leon Russell

      It takes someone extraordinary to make construction and traffic a positive experience! Leon serves as an example of how a number of seemingly small acts of kindness can make a big impact on many. As a road worker for Lake County he regularly works on roads in the Barrington area. His bright smiles and waves are so frequent and sincere that many in the Barrington community have noticed. An aspiring marathon runner added, “When I run on the road I can tell he is looking out for me. He is a wonderfully extraordinary person!”

      Linda Polvere-Fenneman

      Parents often find it hard to let their children out of their care, but it becomes much easier for many thanks to Linda a bus driver for the Barrington 220 school district. Not only does Linda safely transport the children with the utmost care, she greets them with a smile every morning and gives small gifts for special occasions. Linda actively interacts with the children by signing with them and discussing their day. Linda shares with parents the activities and conversations of the bus ride as she returns their children.

      Zein Bertacchi

      Zein combined her passion for cooking and love of kids to support the Chess without Borders program. Together they have raised over $100,000 to support various charitable ventures. By trade she is a microbiologist for Good Shepherd Hospital; in her spare time she is a gifted and award-winning gourmet chef. In conjunction with the non-profit organization Chess without Borders, Zein organizes both adult and child volunteers to sell food at chess tournaments with 100% of proceeds going toward these charities. It is not only her talent but her caring; enthusiasm and mentoring that draw others to help her help so many others.

      Ed Bryson

      Ed Bryson, a science teacher at Station Middle School, excels at teaching. Numerous students have reported how much they learn while having fun in his class! It is not only his gift for academic instruction that sets Ed apart. He helps each student believe in his or her own potential. By focusing attention on each individual student he not only engages him or her in science but also teaches important life lessons about self esteem and respect for others while making each child in his class feel extraordinary.

      Deb Shanfeld

      In a school known for excellence and outstanding teachers, one teacher still manages to stand out from her peers. Deb Shanfield works with children with learning issues at Grove Avenue School. She goes above and beyond curriculum to support her students. She makes them feel empowered through her engaging techniques. Mrs. Shanfeld keeps the students learning year round. She has even created a summer book club to keep them connected.

      Learn More About the Barrington Junior Women's Club 

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