Student always puts others first William Riddering is 11 years old, the son of Joe and Barb Riddering and brother to Michelle and Jennifer. Teachers and staff at Valley View Elementary School describe him as a born leader with a strong willingness to help others. “He does everything right without being told,” they stated. William has a caring heart and is always concerned about someone being left out. He is polite and one of his classmates said he has the best manners. William works well with others and doesn’t care who he is paired with or who is in his group at school. Putting others first makes others want to follow his lead. One of William’s classmates stated, “He is nice—I mean really nice. He would never put anyone down and is a great person.” Strength of character stands out in whatever activity William is involved in, from school, on the playground, or in church. Every day William exhibits strength of character and qualities of excellence. William’s teachers say he can be counted on to do his best in any task set before him. His strong work ethic helped him in overcoming learning challenges at school. Classmates and teachers today would never suspect he once found class work difficult. He is a real leader, who has proven that hard work and determination pay off. As an athlete, William loves all sports, but his favorites are baseball and hunting. He is a Holy Family Catholic Church server and a busy family member who attends events for his older sisters. This student has a strong Christian faith and an inner drive that guide him to be positive and kind every second of his day. His teachers say he is truly a model, not only for other students, but also for adults.
Examples in Excellence
‘Quiet leader’ understands importance of helping others Nate Kolenda, 11, is the son of Kevin and Stacey Kolenda and brother to Owen, 8. Nate is known as a student who always gives his personal best. He is described by his teachers at Meadow Ridge as “a quiet leader” and one who leads by example. He is always eager to help other students, and teachers have often chosen him to help younger students in the school. Nate understands the importance of community helpers and proves this understanding by his volunteer work with first graders. He is a patient and kind young man who is good at mentoring. Also an athlete, Nate plays football and travel hockey. Whether in academics or athletics, teachers and teammates know he always puts in 100 percent of his effort. This hardworking student takes school seriously. “Nate pushes himself and wants to do his best,” his teachers say. In addition to school, hockey and football, he is also active in church and his religious education. This quiet leader who is also a positive and generous student is Meadow Ridge’s Example in Excellence for 2011.
John Ball Zoo volunteer has giving nature Maria Anel, 15, is the daughter of Marlene Anel and sister to Arthur and Charlie. Maria is a student with a natural charisma who is responsible, determined, energetic, outgoing and supportive, with deep compassion and empathy. Maria’s giving nature is shown by her willingness to volunteer for others of all ages and her encouraging attitude with friends and teammates. She goes out of her way to find ways to help others in all situations. She is also a volunteer at John Ball Zoo, where she has put in over 100 hours. She is a leader for the Springhill Day Camp, is in student council, Diversity Club, Youth Initiative, a member of the track team, and active in her Bible study group. This student athlete is also an AAU basketball player and volunteers as a Ram Buddy mentor for students at North Rockford Middle School. Maria is strongly motivated to help others and it puts a smile on her face to know she is an instrument that God can use on behalf of those in need. She is an uplifting person with a positive attitude and the ability to problem-solve in many different situations, and is sensitive to others’ feelings. Planning to go to college and find a way to use her life to help others is Maria’s long-term plan. She wants to make her family proud of her accomplishments. Among achievements Maria can already count include authoring an article in fourth grade that was published in a newspaper. She took first place in a first-grade AWANA Bible quiz, and in fifth grade took first in a fundraising effort. As an eighth grader, Maria broke her school’s track record in the 400m. She has taken first-place wins in cross country, won numerous basketball and softball awards and medals, and reached her goal this summer of over 100 volunteer hours. Other activities Maria enjoys include basketball, competitive running, writing, reading, clubs, fishing and spending time with her brothers. She is also active in Blythefield Church. Rockford Freshman Center is proud to recognize Maria as a student with a strong track record of making a difference in the lives of others and a clear Example in Excellence.
Special memories of her grandpa motivate this student Anna Dornan, 14, is the daughter of Chris and Brenda Dornan and sister to Audrey, 16, and Amy, 6. Anna was chosen as this year’s Example in Excellence for East Rockford Middle School for her quiet confidence, compassion, positive attitude and strong work ethic. “Anna’s level of responsibility and maturity are impressive,” her teachers say of her. Anna makes it a priority to set goals to help others and to reflect on her progress each day. She values helping others, both academically and socially, and feels a duty to stand up for what is right. Anna serves the community by volunteering at her church and at Kent District Library. She has a passion for reading and writing. She is a member of the Junior Writer’s Foundation and her writing has received numerous high honors in competitions. She has also earned several medals and ribbons for Irish dance. She loves dancing, but is unable to dance, at this point, due to a serious condition with her leg. She hopes to regain the ability to dance in the future. Anna is very active with Nitelife, Equipt and small group for her church, which is an integral part of her life and character. She is motivated by her family and God. She is especially motivated by memories of her grandpa Lyle and the love that he showed during his life. Students and staff at East Rockford Middle School are proud to recognize Anna Dornan as their Example in Excellence. She shows what she values in the way she carries herself each day in school and community.
Alina Porter, 10, is the granddaughter of Chuck and Gayle Porter and sister to Nico. Alina is described as a selfless, determined and gracious student who is wise beyond her years. She does not draw attention away from others. Even with her strong academic talents and achievements, she instead allows others to shine and is happy to celebrate their success with them. She prefers it when the spotlight is on someone else. Alina volunteers as a kindergarten bus safety, where her gentle good nature encourages youngsters. She is described as the “poster child for resiliency.” Nothing keeps Alina down or stops her from pursuing her goals. Her teachers, asked to describe Alina in a short phrase, chose, “Because nice matters.” “Driven to be kind” is another description of this caring student. “She watches how others are feeling and reaches out to those needing a friend, a kind word or a smile,” her teachers say. Academically talented as well as consistently kindhearted, Alina won the Sharp BMW Young Writers Award and the $1,000 scholarship offered with the prestigious recognition. In addition to her schoolwork, Alina plays piano and basketball, and loves horseback riding. She enjoys art and is also a knitter. She is a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville. Lakes Elementary School teachers, staff and students are proud to highlight this selfless young woman for all she does by recognizing her as this year’s Example in Excellence.