The Mayor’s Youth Commission created an awards program to recognize our community’s youth for their outstanding personal achievements and the important, positive contributions they make to the Kenosha community. Nomination forms can be obtained in the Mayor’s Office, Room 300, in the Municipal Building, or on the internet at www.kenosha.org under the tab Mayor/Administration. For the second nomination period of the 2018-19 school year, 15 students met the criteria to be presented with an award and were invited to a meeting of the Common Council. These students were:
Lauren Birschbach, a senior at Tremper High School, was nominated by counselor Jeff Tarkowski. After seven semesters, Lauren is ranked number one in her graduating class. Lauren is a National Merit Scholar and received a 35 on her ACT. While maintaining this extremely high academic standard, Lauren is also very involved in Renaissance, Key Club and Student Government. She has played volleyball for all four years and logged over 100 hours of community service for various youth groups, including All Saints Catholic Schools. Lauren is a successful student because she sets goals and works hard to accomplish them.
Nico Crespo is a fourth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary School and was nominated by Principal Jered Kotarak. As a result of a project during which the fourth-grade class learned about “peace makers,” Nico immersed himself in trying to experience what children go through who are less fortunate. He then brought a letter to his teacher, Mrs. Rover, outlining a proposed project of his own titled “Kids in Need.” Both Mr. Kotarak and teacher Mrs. Rover were blown away by the empathy and kindness shown by Nico, whose project raised three full boxes of toys to donate to the Shalom Center. Nico is to be commended for his compassion and his commitment to others.
Robert George Jr. is an eighth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School who was nominated by teacher Mary Aicher. Robert is currently Student Council vice president, and as part of Student Council, organizes, oversees and runs the school store. Aside from his well-earned grades, he is kind, considerate, helpful and empathetic. He interacts with adults politely and always works with the teacher sponsor of Student Council in a mature and responsible way. While his academic skills are solid, it is his character and undeniable leadership that makes Robert worthy of this recognition.
Dominik Gillespie is a junior at St. Joseph Catholic Academy and was nominated by teacher Cindy Benhart. In addition to being a dedicated honor roll student, Dominik is also very active outside of school. He volunteers at the Shalom Center, serves mass at St. Therese Parish, and volunteers at their fish fry events and festivals. Dominik is active in sports as well and golfs, plays baseball and runs cross country. In one of his most impressive accomplishments, Dominik earned the rank of Eagle Scout in January 2018.
Lindsay Griffith is a sophomore at Christian Life School and was nominated by teacher Karen Brown. Lindsay is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, a leader for the Youth Worship Team, and had the highest GPA in 2016. She has earned multiple recognitions; among the awards are Fine Arts Excellence for Songwriting and Female Vocalist, the Gold Presidential Awards, the Daughters of the American Revolution Youth Citizenship Award, the Kiwanis Club Certificate of Scholastic Achievements, and Certificates of Achievement for Excellence in Character and Spiritual Leadership. What truly makes Lindsay a winner is her character. She is passionate about foster care and is an upright leader in her community, school and church.
Na’Kia Hughes is a senior at Harborside Academy and was nominated by Outreach Director Felicia Dalton at the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. Na’Kia has been an active member at both her school and the club. She is a member of the National Honor Society, an active member of the Keystone Club at the Boys & Girls Club, is a previous Youth of the Year for the club, was a part of Youth in Governance, and achieved her travel goals of traveling to both Europe and South America because of her hard work and dedication. Na’Kia also founded a club at school, Culture Shock, which focuses on providing culturally accurate information to people who may not be familiar with African American culture. Na’Kia uses opportunities to teach and bridge gaps.
Princess Johnson is a senior at Indian Trail High School and Academy and was nominated by Prevention and Outreach Coordinator Wendy Johnson at the Boys & Girls Club. Princess is currently part of the ITA Dance Team and enjoys dancing in her free time. At the club, you can find her teaching other members to dance and choreographing dance moves. She participates in many programs at the center, including Diplomas to Degrees, Smart Girls, Drama Matters and Money Matters. In Drama Matters, she is very creative and an excellent writer, currently working on writing her own short play. Princess was Member of the Month in January. She will be going into the Army after graduation and hopes to become a registered nurse; Princess is a great example to other members and will be a great leader wherever she is stationed in the military.
Eric Kenesie is a seventh-grader at St. Joseph Catholic Academy who was nominated by Principal Matt Rizzo. Eric is a straight-A student who challenges himself in his academics with taking STEM, piano and foreign language courses. In addition to excelling in academics, he participates in three sports and volunteers his time through school and beyond. Eric recently received the Lancer Value – Student of the Month award for Humility and continuously demonstrates this quality. Although a top performing student and accomplished athlete, Eric is very humble and exemplifies not only what the Mayor’s Youth Commission nominees should be, but also what it means to be an St. Joseph Catholic Academy Lancer.
Shelby Prince is an eighth-grader at All Saints Catholic School who was nominated by teacher Emily Weismann. Shelby is a consistently hard-working, selfless and accomplished student. She dedicates her time to several extracurricular activities, such as a new student luncheon committee, Student Council and basketball. A leader in her school community, she is not one to say “no” to any request and is willing to help with a smile on her face. She is kind, generous and welcoming to all students she encounters and is truly a role model.
Alexandra Prochnow is an eighth-grader at All Saints Catholic School who was nominated by teacher Mary Ann Clermont. Allie is involved in many activities at school and in the community. She is a member of the Spanish Club, plays volleyball and soccer, and also dedicates her time and talent by helping out a soccer team of younger students. Allie is always helpful and generous in spirit and in her actions. With a smile on her face and kind word for everyone, she is a wonderful mentor and deserving of recognition.
Melissa Roman is a fifth-grader at Jefferson Elementary School who was nominated by school counselor Elise Elmblad. Melissa has been a Character Ambassador since third grade; a nomination is made by the classroom teacher and must be endorsed by all staff to earn this recognition. As Ambassador, Melissa volunteers at school functions and community events. She offers guidance and support to kindergarten classrooms and this year, has perfect attendance and is excelling academically. With her excellent character and determined demeanor, Melissa will continue to be a role model and leader in middle school and beyond.
Emily Schmidbauer is an eighth-grader at All Saints Catholic School who was nominated by teachers Francesca Capelli and Tricia Koessl. Emily is very involved in many activities including sports, Student Council and band. What makes her stand out is her commitment to helping others. She serves as a leader in church by playing her flute every week, in the classroom by cooperating and tutoring classmates, and in school by being a positive role model for others. Her capacity to give of her time and talent is a true example to others.
Caden Tolefree is a freshman at St. Joseph Catholic Academy who was nominated by teachers Lindsay Rogers and Linda Hantke. Caden is currently involved in the Big Brother, Big Sister Club at school. He has shown what an excellent role model and leader looks like, always showing up on club day with a positive attitude and excited to spend time with his “little brother.” Caden does everything with a smile on his face and doesn’t even know the impact he has on others. His positive attitude not only inspires those in the club, but students throughout the building.
Jared Ziegelbauer is a junior at LakeView Technology Academy who was nominated by school counselor Lynette Anderson. Jared is an outstanding student and actively involved in both community and school activities. He is the leader of Boy Scout Troop 522, has earned vigil honors in the Order of the Arrow, has been class president for three years, swims with the Bradford Swim Team, plays bass in the Harborside Jazz Band and has performed in two shows this year in KUSD Theatre. In addition, Jared is a lifeguard at the YMCA, spends time in the community at the Moose Lodge, and enjoys helping out at his sister’s elementary school when the need arises. He plans to complete his Eagle Scout project and after high school, to pursue a degree in computer science, political science or theater arts. Jared is also interested in politics and may run for an elected office some day. With his strong leadership skills and community involvement, Jared is an asset to our community and a worthy recipient of this award.
Brianna Zoerner is a sophomore at Indian Trail High School and Academy who was nominated by Stephanie Kubarth. Brianna is a wonderful volunteer who gives many hours to the Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She plays violin in the orchestra, participates in Key Club and is an active member of Great Lakes Church. Brianna is a young lady who is mature beyond her years. She wrote and won a grant through Youth As Resources for the program’s Christmas party and put the party and craft stations together for more than 100 children. Brianna does a wonderful job every week working with children with special needs, and should be commended for her dedication, kindness and innovation.