2018 5th Annual Scholarship Winners

2018 5th Annual Scholarship Winners

In 500 words, tell us about a role model or mentor from your high school career who has impacted you in a positive way.

Mansi Bodalia, Maine East High School, Park Ridge

Of all the people who have inspired me, Mr. Schwan ranks at the top of my list. He is my business teacher to me, tennis coach, and Rotary Interact sponsor. In my freshman year of high school, I knew business was my calling as soon as I took Introduction to Business.

However, it is in my sophomore year when I took College Accounting with Mr. Schwan when I learned what business in actually entails. Before embarking on a teaching career, Mr. Schwan experienced a career in business with failures and losses. The lessons he has learned from his career are brought into the class. He teaches us how the real world operates in the business realm, and the importance of professional intelligence.

Every day in class, professional etiquette is emphasized such as: arriving early and leaving late from class, servant leadership, level 5 leaders and many more. The lessons I learned in his class not only were about the course being taught but how to behave and act outside the class. A phrase that Mr. Schwan often says in class is, “It’s important what you do in this class, but it is even more important what you do outside of this class.” This phrase has inspired me in the sense that school does not end in high school, but it is how you compose yourself outside of school that matters.

In addition to class, Mr. Schwan has mentored and guided me in tennis. He has taught me the concept of resilience and to push through hard times. At our school, tennis has one of the hardest practices in the sense there is no time to give up. Our feet are to be constantly moving whether it be picking up tennis balls on the floor or drinking water. This at first was intense as we had run a mile around our school before beginning our practice itself; but, overtime we became accustomed to this practice style.

Mr. Schwan often tells us that pushing through this practice will make the end results great. In the games, we would not be tired at all compared to our opponents. Mr. Schwan has inspired me to work through difficult situations as the outcome will be worth it.

Lastly, Mr. Schwan is the sponsor of one of Maine East’s largest clubs Rotary Interact. For the past two years, I have been the co-president of this organization and had the chance to be inspired even more than I already was. I before this club had enormous passion for giving back to the community, but seeing the dedication he has for assisting others motivates me even further. Mr. Schwan is at the age where he could be retired, but rather than retiring, he comes and gets involved at school. He has exhibited the motto of Rotary Interact greatly, “Service Above Self.” The passion that is seen through his eyes as a teacher, coach and mentor has inspired me to show and have dedication for any action I commit.

As cliche as it may sound, my mother is 100 percent the biggest and most positive role model in my high school career. I don’t come from a well-off background, but it has never stopped my mother's drive for giving me the life I deserve. My mother and I both suffer from a spinal condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a genetic condition with an array of symptoms from mid-lower back pain to the inflammation of joints in hands and the knees. Luckily, this has never stopped my mom from doing what she does best. She balances two jobs, paying for my brother’s tuition (as he is a current senior at Andrews University), and moreover, constantly finding time in her already hectic life to make me feel appreciated and loved.

My mother inspires me constantly in not just her words, but through her actions. She motivates me to work harder than the person sitting next to me because of what I go through. We both struggle with this chronic condition, but she teaches me how to endure, fight and make myself into a stronger individual because of it. With the constant battle every day we both face in life from pain, work and play, she has made me into the best person I can ever imagine being. Without my mom in my life, I would have never been motivated to go into the field of medicine.

She taught me responsibility, respect and to have appreciation of those around you, because you may not know what they themselves may be dealing with. My plans for college is to become a First Assistant Registered Nurse and to help in the field of medicine to use my skills I have learned from my mom to use in the operating room one day.

Paige Kawiecki, Palatine High School, Palatine

Through the process of growth and development, children look up to individuals to learn certain life tactics. Often, children first learn from their parents, but teachers hold the second most influential role in a child’s life. Teachers must possess essential qualities that are inspirational to the children they teach. Role models may influence a child’s personality and outlook on life, so having a good role model is imperative.

In my high school career, I’ve had many teachers that inspired and pushed me to my fullest potential. My Certified Nursing Assistant teacher, Mrs. Deguia, stood out among the rest. Personally, I want to go into the medical career field, so naturally I felt more of a connection with her than some of my other teachers. However, she is a very different teacher in the realm of her teaching style.

Mrs. Deguia possesses a strong quality in actively engaging herself in how each student learns. She stresses the importance of “hands-on” activities through group work and practicing skills on our class dummy. By practicing these skills, students become aware of how their work outside of the classroom can affect patients in the medical field. She tries to make the classroom as similar as she can to the actual workplace, to prepare us for college and medical school in the future.

Mrs. Deguia is also a role model to me because of her investment in her job, the school, and students altogether. She works at three different schools, with a total of over 7+ classes. Since she sees a lot of value in the class she teaches, she agreed to take on another school to teach. Even though she is very busy, she still is able to focus on specific student’s needs by meeting with students before school and during her free periods. She enjoys working with students and she will always put their education needs before herself.

Lastly, I respect Mrs. Deguia’s honest disposition. In dealing with students, she doesn't exhibit favoritism. Rather, she is a teacher that treats every student equally. Because of this quality, students are able to respect and trust her. In the medical field, honesty is one of the most important qualities anyone could possess. As she teaches us in our Certified Nursing Assistant class, she is preparing us for how the work field will be.

Throughout my last four years of high school, I have learned a lot from the teachers and staff at Palatine High School. My junior year was the most memorable year because it was the first time I met Mrs. Deguia. I have had the privilege of being her student for 2 years, and I learned more than I ever thought I could about the medical field. Due to her wonderful teaching qualities, I know I am well prepared for college and beyond. I aspire to work like her in the medical field someday by displaying signs of focus and commitment to patients in the future.

Hannah Waller, William Fremd High School, Palatine

Over the past four years, I have had many people come into my life that have had a positive impact on my life. But there is one person that particularly stands out. This woman inspired me to explore a male dominant field, such as engineering. With new inspiration, I had a glimpse as to what my future could be like and the different opportunities I could have.

One day during freshman year, I was at a small party with family and friends, and I started talking to someone that I knew for a very long time. Her name is Joanna Whitfield, and she is a close family friend. She told me about her journey through high school, what classes she took, and how she had to work hard to be able to attend Notre Dame for college. She then proceeded to tell me that she graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s in science for mechanical engineering. After graduation, she had a job lined up at big airplane company called Boeing, working as a mechanical aerospace engineer. I then proceeded to ask her multiple questions like; What's your job like? How were you able to get the job? What classes did you take in high school to help you get into the engineering program? Do you like the job you are at now? Thankfully, she answered all of these questions with a smile on her face while inspiring to pursue my small interest in engineering. Little did I know that all of this information would help me down the road when I choose to pursue engineering.

After my conversation with her, I immediately went home to tell my parents that I wanted to pursue some type of engineering in college. I knew my school offered classes designed by Project Lead The Way that allowed students to explore the different disciplines of engineering. I signed up for the class, as soon as I could so I could start my journey of exploring the world of engineering.

Once I started the classes, I knew that engineering was the right place for me. It allowed me to be creative with different types of projects and to be creative with the different problems I had to solve. Knowing that engineering was for me, I continued with the Project Lead The Way program. During my senior year I chose to apply to colleges as an engineering major. I knew I would have a successful future while being able to push myself in academics if I majored in engineering.

Without the insightful information from my long-time family friend, I would have never been inspired enough to take the chance of exploring engineering. This conversation changed my future and opened up a world where women succeed, even though there is a small amount of them in the engineering field.

Joanna Whitfield has been my role model for engineering and without her, I would have never had the courage to explore a male dominating field.


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