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Neighbors of Kane County

The Exchange Club of the Tri-Cities 21st annual A.C.E. Awards recognizes students overcoming obstacles

May 03, 2016 11:58AM ● By Neighbors Magazines

The Exchange Club of the Tri-Cities held their 21st annual A.C.E.  Awards on Tuesday morning, May 3 at Riverside Reception in Geneva.  The A.C.E.  (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award recognizes graduating high school seniors in the Tri-Cities who have overcome physical, emotional or social obstacles on their path to graduation.  The awards represent one facet of the Exchange Club’s mission, which includes the prevention of child abuse, the promotion of patriotism and the recognition of student achievements. 

Tim Sullivan, President of the Exchange Club of the Tri-Cities, opened the Awards Ceremony breakfast with an introductory speech detailing the philosophy of the Exchange Club and recognizing the student attendants:

“You have faced and overcome some of life’s most difficult have have succeeded. We are here to honor your success.”

Tim’s speech was followed by a welcome address from Mary Agenes Zellmer, Chair of the A.C.E. Awards Committee, and a speech from Beth Plachetka of Safe Harbor Counseling.  

The A.C.E. recipients received their awards from the teacher or councilor who nominated them. The presenters spoke to the unique character of each student and their successes in overcoming adversity as they worked towards graduating high school. The award winners from six area high schools included:

Batavia High School

  • Christopher Schmidt—Presented by Corey Bernard
  • Dakota Haefelin—Presented by Erin Hack

 Geneva High School

  • Grant Radke—Presented by Maureen Brenner-Mitchell
  • Natalie White—Presented by Victoria Holbrook

Mades-Johnstone High School

  • Devon Smith—Presented by Ginger Rohde
  • James Lanman—Presented by Ginger Rohde

Mooseheart High School

  • Josh Gordon—Presented by Dodie Whitmer & Superintendent / Principal Dr. Jeff Szymczak
  • Shannon Johnson—Presented by Dodie Whitmer & Superintendent / Principal Dr. Jeff Szymczak

St. Charles East High School

  • Natasha Balsamello—Presented by Mark Pereda
  • Ali Hasan—Presented by Lisa Dandre

St. Charles North High School

  • Hannah Spejcher—Presented by Kirsten Pemberton
  • Stewart Vazquez—Presented by Jeanine James

Tri-Cities Exchange Club District Nominee

  • Hannah SpejcherPresented by Yolanda Alvin

As the Tri-Cities Exchange District nominee, Hannah has been submitted to the District ACE Awards for opportunity to receive an additional scholarship.

The Exchange Club is a service organization of men and women who come together to support Americanism, youth and help build better communities. The Exchange Club of the Tri-Cities is one of over 700 Exchange Clubs across the country.