Last Thursday, I was very lucky to attend a performance at Senn High School. The Civic Orchestra of Chicago was joined by Yo-Yo Ma in a rehearsal of Strauss’ Don Quixote, which will be presented in its final form at the school in April. I enjoy classical music, but have little training in the art. That did not matter with Yo-Yo Ma on stage. He walked the audience through the performance and helped us understand how the music told a story. After the performance, he took several questions, many of which came from enthusiastic children who were also musicians. Before the performance, Senn’s principal, Susan Lofton, gave a stirring address about how the school has improved and how it is part of the Edgewater neighborhood. The fine Chicago news website DNAInfo has a summary of the event as well as a video.
We recently met with our old friend Principal Dan Gomez of Hayt Elementary School. Principal Gomez described the successes his students are enjoying. He also described a major renovation of the school that makes it ADA compliant. Our donation of $500 will be used to purchase books for the school library and classroom collections. We thank Principal Gomez and his dedicated staff for their service to the children of Edgewater.
Our club recently donated $500 to support reading and literacy programs at Passages Charter School. We met with Principal Nicolle Feinberg and Dean Robert Flick who told us that the school is growing and generating results. Passages is ranked 13th in the state and now offers classes from Pre-K through 8th Grade. The school is very diverse with students who speak 33 different languages. We our happy to support this school through our gift of a $500 gift card to Women and Children First Bookstore in Andersonville.
Friends of Peirce will hold its annual Kegs for Kids fundraiser on Sunday, September 9 from 12 pm to 5 pm. The location will be Hopleaf Bar (5148 N. Clark Street). Anyone who cares about local schools (especially Peirce) or wants to taste enjoy a one-of-a-kind beer tasting (with food from local restaurants) should attend this event.
Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies is great local school staffed by committed teachers. Kiwanis, it deserves our support.
Our club and our friends at the Ravenswood club are hosting events in early May.
On Tuesday, May 8, at 12:15, KiwanisClubNorthShorewill host its annual 8th Grade Essay Contest at the Fireside Restaurant. We will be joined by students, teachers, and parents from 7 local schools. All Kiwanis club members and friends are welcome. We will service pizza and soft drinks. There is no charge for this event.
On Thursday, May 10, Ravenwood Kiwanis Club will host former alderman and UIC professor Dick Simpson, who will discuss politics in Chicago. The event will be held at Barba Yanai Restaurant in Lincoln Square (4761 N. Lincoln), beginning at 12 noon. Lunch will be buffet style. Cost is $25 (advance) and $30 (day of event). Free parking is available at MB Financial Bank.
At our meeting last Tuesday, the club awarded a $500 grant to Peirce School to purchase books from Women and Children First Bookstore in Andersonville. Principal Nancy Mendez and International Baccalaureate Program Director Jennifer Foss told us about many exciting things that are happening at the school. Jennifer is launching the IB program, which will make Peirce a feeder school to Senn High School, which has a similar program. The school is also holding a Career Day on April 12 to expose 8th graders to different options for their future. We thank Principal Mendez and Ms. Foss for their visit and their commitment to teaching students at Peirce School.
This post includes this year’s winning essays and photos from the event. Photos of Kiwanis members and guests will appear in a separate post.
of the North Shore
Reverend John Hudson
May 10, 2011
Topic: “An Influential Elder” “Discuss how an older person (other than your parents) has influenced your life. Tell us about this person and how he/she has affected your life. When we say “elder,” we only mean that this person is older than you. It could be a grandparent/elderly neighbor or it could be your older brother or sister or a coach who is in his/her 30s/40s.
First Place, Goudy School
Everyone has a direction that they choose for their future. When Ms. Le’s elementary teacher asked her what kind of job she wanted, Ms. Le boldly answered, “A teacher.” This made the class burst into laughter. However, that didn’t faze her from reaching her goal. When she received her Bachelor’s Degree for teaching, she went back to that same teacher and told him, “I did it!”
It wasn’t easy to reach that stage though. Born inVietnam, Ms. Le knew no English when she came to America. Nevertheless, she managed to master it by the third grade.
In the years leading up to the achievement of her dreams, she had a busy life as well. During college, she took five classes, held three jobs, and cared for her younger sister.
Ms. Le has shown me that life is full of obstacles. Whether it’s skeptical people, language barriers, or life’s battles, you have to have passion and perseverance to achieve your goals. She has influenced me by telling me about her real-life struggles, which, in turn, taught me valuable life lessons. Though I haven’t found a direction in life, I know I will persist through every obstacle, thanks to Ms. Le’s story.
Runner Up, Goudy School
My older brother Andres Salgado Jr. has influenced my life in many ways. He always tells me that anything is possible. Every day he tells me to do great in school, and he believes in me. He always encourages me to be the best in my studies, sports, and everything I do. Also my brother has influenced my life by making me a better person, and he tells me that I can be anything I want when I grow up. He always helps me with everything I need.
I know that when I need help with homework, projects, or anything else, he is there to assist me and to teach me stuff I don’t get. He takes time off his busy schedule to help me with anything I need help with. My brother has always been there for me, and I really appreciate it. I am glad that he is my big brother and one of my best friends. Just like he has been there for me, I hope that I can do the same for him as well. This is the person who has influenced me throughout my entire life.
Runner Up, Goudy School
Elders have always been an important part of society. For hundreds of years, elders were who people looked up to and went to for advice. Today nothing has changed. I have one person who’s shaped me into who I am today and who will shape me into who I will be. That one person is my former Girl Scout leader.
I’m not afraid to spill my soul to her. Everyone needs that one person they can talk to in their life. She guides me on the right path with her guidance. I know if I ever stray off the right path, she’ll be right there to help me get back on it. She’s always been there for me and always will be.
She makes me strive to be my best. She’s everything I want to be right now and when I’m older. Without her, I don’t know how successful I would be. When my math grade faltered, she never gave up on me. She pushes me to never stop trying. She knows what hard work can get you. She shows me that without hard work you can’t get anywhere in life.
She is the person who makes me, me.
First Place, Hayt School
She inspires kindness with a personality that can light up a room. With every visit, she teaches me important life lessons in humility and perseverance. She greets every problem with patience and understanding, and ends any conflict with courtesy. My Aunt Franca is a true hero.
As a straight-A Honor student, Franca seemed destined for some high paying career, but instead pursued a life in the convent. She devoted her life to serving others, the true definition of selflessness. She joined the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, where she does volunteer work, giving alms to those most in need.
Throughout my life, her gentle nature, patience and generosity were there to help and support whoever needed her. At my birth, she was there. She cooked, cleaned and nursed me as an infant when my mother could not, as a result of complications after my birth. She was there as I grew up to comfort and guide me, especially when life seemed too unfair. Today, she is still here, encouraging me to always take education seriously, to do my best, and to do good with the gifts I have. I could never be the person I am today without my Aunt Franca.
Runner Up, Hayt School
I have seen and experienced a lot, from my parents’ divorce to poverty. My mother was a single parent who wasn’t always able to buy everything. I understood my situation at an early age and really didn’t pay much attention to it. Apparently, not many noticed a young girl with worn out shoes that were falling apart.
One specific woman who did genuinely care for my well-being was my preschool teacher. I remember her vividly in my memories, the moment when she provided me with a pair of shoes. I was ecstatic! Little did she know, she would impact my life so much and not just as any other preschool teacher.
In addition to providing shoes for me, she, unknowingly, taught me to lend a helping hand even if it isn’t much. I knew she was truly a great person because of the tear that ran down her cheek when I thanked her with a hug. She inspires me because she was a genuine human being who took an extra step to help somebody. Somehow, she is part of me. She is the space in my heart that strives to help others in need.
Runner Up, Hayt School
Soccer coach, art teacher, and my role model: Mr. Pineda. Mr. Pineda is the one guy who keeps my head up. From sharing his new ideas and helping improve mine, Mr. Pineda has changed my opinion on art. A few months before Mr. Pineda started teaching art, when the three letter word art came to mind such things as confusing, waste of time, and boring automatically popped into my mind.
Ever since art classes at Hayt have been taught by Mr. Pineda, I have different thoughts about art. For instance, creative ways to communicate, dream, and new ways to show how big your imagination is.
Mr. Pineda’s positive enforcement has had an impact on my motivations toward school. I am able to open up and share my talent for art with others. I have also been involved with soccer. Since the sixth grade, I’ve decided to stick with volleyball. As an eighth grader, I wanted to try something new in my last year at Hayt. I decided to choose soccer.
I have never been thrilled about soccer, so I thought maybe if Mr. Pineda could turn my opinion around about art, he could turn it around about soccer. I was right! At out first try outs, Mr. Pineda encouraged me to keep trying when I got something wrong, cheered for me when right, and helped when needed.
I’m glad Mr. Pineda’s encouraging and positive attitude could help me change my thoughts about art and soccer. I have learned skills and a new way of thinking from Mr. Pineda. I am grateful to have a cheerful, kind, motivating, creative person like Mr. Pineda to have as my role model.
First Place, McCutcheon School
As a kid, I looked up to many people. They were mostly famous people I saw on television like Adam Sandler. He was very funny and always made me laugh. However, as I grew older, I realized that there were other people who have really influenced my life. One of them is my older sister, Hien.
Hien is a very supportive role model in my life. My parents are divorced, so my mom had to single handedly raise me and my two sisters. My mom is Vietnamese, so she is not fluent in English. My sister would always have to help her, but she never complained about doing so. We sometimes would have conflicts with each other, but she would always be forgiving in the end. She is the one who taught me manners and always helped me with any kind of problems I have.
In these days where real role models are hard to find, there is my sister who has always been there and will always be there. I am very thankful for my older sister because she is probably the person who has raised me up to be the kind of person I am now.
Runner Up, McCutcheon School
Someone who had a positive influence on me is Steven Ira Saines. He is a teacher at John T. McCutcheon Elementary School in Chicago,Illinois. He currently teaches eighth grade, and many of the students think he is a great teacher.
He is an influential elder because he does his work, he connects with the students and tries to treat everyone fairly depending on how you treat him. He is influential to me because he does all of his work and really connects with the students he works with. Those are the two main reasons he is an influential elder to me.
By connecting with students, he always helps them if they need it and doesn’t yell at all even though other teachers want Steven Saines to go their way. For example, if a students are acting immaturely, he will talk nicely to them and never yells. He doesn’t tell anyone to be quiet. Instead, he tells everyone to be monks. It’s really fun because everyone acts like one, and it’s pretty cool for a teacher to have this role in the school. This is why I’m choosing Steven Saines as my influential elder.
First Place, Peirce School
“Then you pat the dirt over the seed and in a few days, if you take care of the plant, there will be a little sprout growing and fighting for its life.” As I got older, I realized that you also have to care for your family and friends just like you would a blossoming flower.
I sometimes wondered how a man who has been through so much as my uncle can still find the energy and happiness to make others happy. He once said to me, “Ashley, life will try to knock you down on your butt every day, but if you’re strong enough and have the will in you to fight, then you will make it through anything this life throws at you.”
Diabetes was one of the curveballs that life threw at him, but he kept going. Although the struggle to learn to walk again was hard, he took no sympathy or pity from others. One day my mother was trying to help him down the stairs, but he laughed and said, “Mani, I’m still breathing and smiling, so I know I can still walk down the stairs by myself.” Seeing him so determined and concentrated on succeeding made me want to change and be more like him.
Well, I wasn’t good at math. So I thought that by being better at math and conquering that obstacle, I could be a better person like my uncle. Sometimes it took me hours to understand how to do one problem, but he never gave up on me. He told me that if I gave up now all the work that I did to get to this point would be for nothing. Even though he passed away, I still think about what he said to me that day. Now I work hard on everything I do with the image of him and his powerful words in my head.
My Uncle Jose influenced my life by making me better in school, in my home life, in gardening, and, especially, in my heart.
Runner Up, Peirce School
The person I have chosen who has influenced my life the most is my youth leader, Helen Reyes. Most teenagers’ lives can be difficult at times, and we have all gone through something. We were on a trip, and one night we had a one-on-one conversation. She told me all about her past, and I told her my story as well. She told me many things that could help me. The one thing that I thought was the greatest was that she also likes to make clothes. We spent much time together discussing things and having fun. Thanks to her I am focused on doing good things in my life, focusing on getting a great education, and starting my own business.
I have changed many things about my life, including the people around me, thanks to her. All I can say is that I made many right decisions because of her. I am ready for the hard things in life because life is tough, and there will always be obstacles, but through it all I know that she is always there to help me. When I grow up, I want to help people just like she does, and I want them to know that whatever happens I will be there.
Hope has shown me what to expect from people because she knows about the reactions people will give because she has gone through it. She knows most things about me, and I know some about her. She has taken time out of her life and helped me. I have been so influenced by her, and I hope I will be able to influence people like she has. She is one of the main people I can trust and helps me with my troubles. She is my role model.
Runner Up, Peirce School
Skinny, tall, awesome, Edgar, Eddie, whatever you want to call him, he’s my brother. Through thick and thin, we’ve hung out with one another, talked to each other, and had our backs for one another. No matter what the situation is, we have always been together, almost inseparable. I and my big brother have always been there for each other. Not only is he my brother, but also my inspiration. He might not be the best human being on this Earth, but he is one of the best people to talk to, to hang out with, and to trust. Always keeping me out of trouble and always encouraging me to do my best, for this he is my inspiration.
One reason out of all for him being my role model is that he’s always looking out for other people, especially when they need him, and he always looks out for our family. I guess that’s his job, being the oldest. No matter how many things go around him and how bad things can get, he always smiles and takes on his problems with no problem. No challenge has ever been too difficult for him. I guess that’s why he challenges me to do my best.
Mean and scary can be the first words to come to mind when people see him, but the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” really fits him. Those words would soon be diminished from your mind when you meet and talk to him. You’ll agree with me when I say he’s awesome. My brother has the best personality I know. Just don’t get him mad and stay on his good side. But no matter what the troubles are, he’s always there for me, and I’ll always be there for him. He is my brother, but more importantly he’s my influence and always keeping me out of trouble and always keeping me safe.
First Place, Swift School
There’s this one person who will always be in my life. She was there when I was just a newborn. And after fourteen years, she’s still jumping into my life every now and then. She’s someone I look up to, someone who I turn to, and someone I look forward to seeing. And it’s not like she’s perfect (even though she’s pretty darn close), but everything about her shouts out, “Awesome!” This person is my idol, and she bears the title of my sister.
My sister is a person who encourages me to pursue happiness in my life. Once, when her fiancé was telling me to become a part-time model like her, she shushed him and said, “She can be whatever she wants.” I’ll never, ever forget that because during that time I felt so much pressure to be someone else, someone more perfect. But with that one line (a line she probably didn’t even think about much), I felt so touched that I was going to cry right then and there. That moment made me realize that what I should be doing is trying to please myself instead of trying to please others.
She’s also very admirable and takes the time in between work and school and her fiancé to help me in my own battles. She always gives me the best advice without all of those sugar-coated, clichéd lines that are given out like propaganda. Regardless of my situation and how devastating it might be, my sister will always be there for me and is always willing to help me out. Seriously, sometimes I think that Oprah could be out of a job! Every time I talk to her, I feel washed over with relief and that the hunk of stress weighing me down simply vaporizes. I can always turn to her when I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, and she never judges me because of that.
It’s because she’s had such a big impact on who I am that I look forward to the times when she comes over. She’s moved out of the household long ago, but I wish that when she sleeps over, it would be a daily recurrence. Her personality makes her a very respectable person, which is why I look up to her so much and want to be like her. Who I am is probably eighty percent like her, and the other twenty percent was most likely influenced by her. But I’m proud of my own style and individuality and the fact that I can call her my sister. Nobody even comes close to how much I love and respect her – no one at all. And no matter who I call my “soul sister,” I know that deep down, she’s the one and only true sister to me.
Runner Up, Swift School
My Grandmother, Dorothy Evans, 80 years old, is the most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She has great faith in the Lord. She takes all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren to church. My grandma has 12 and one deceased and worked one job, providing for all.
In 1992, her daughter died, and my grandma took in her 7 kids. It was hard raising 7 kids and keeping them out of trouble, but she gave it her all. She provided clothes on their back and food to eat. She is an admirable person who gives food to the needy, and has helped substance abuse women get their lives together.
It was rough in our neighborhood. She asked gang members to come to church with her and go back to school. She helped kids get jobs in summer to stay out of trouble. If you had an issue, my grandma was the person to talk to. If you needed shelter, she’d give it to you in her home. Beautiful woman – so divine. She’s the backbone of my family. She has taught me to always love God and stay educated so I could give back to the community.
Runner Up, Swift School
Someone who has influenced my life is my cousin Ricardo, who is a 21 year old man who works as a dentist in Mexico. The way that he influenced my life is by telling me to never give up.
For example, one summer vacation there was this traveling soccer team that you had to try out for in order to get on the team. I signed up for it. Every single morning I went running on the beach, and I took my soccer ball to practice my dribbling, shooting, passing, and tricks. The days went so fast that the next thing I knew it was time for me to go try out. I took cousin Ricardo with me.
The moment we got to where the try outs were held, there were so many people lined up to try out that it looked like the whole world was there. Minutes passed, and the coaches told us to run 20 laps around the field. After we were done running, they made us run through some drills. I was so tired that I was close to quitting until my cousin had come up to me saying, “Josoe, there’s not that many opportunities in life, and if you step off of the field, you are giving one up. So go back over there and do what they tell you to do.”
When he told me that, I felt like my heart was skipping beats. I ran back to where everyone else was and played like never before. When try outs were over, they called out the names of kids that made the team: “Alex, Carlos, Elder, Jonathan.” There was one more spot on the team. When I heard my name “Josoe” coming out of the coach’s mouth, I was so happy that I jumped higher than the tallest building in the city. And that’s when my cousin influenced my life because thanks to him I made the team and never gave up.
Kiwanis Club of the North Shore recognizes and thanks the dedicated students, teachers, administrators, and parents from
You make Andersonville, Edgewater, and Uptown a better place to live.
“The things taught in schools
and colleges are not an
education, but the means
of an education.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photos from the event