BAPA Recognizes Local Students 

Great students are the heart of great schools. Beverly/Morgan Park public schools have some of the best students anywhere!  

BAPA’s Education Committee has launched an annual BAPA Youth Community Service Award, recognizing 7th and 8th grade students from each public elementary school, and a student at Morgan Park High School.   

“The award recognizes students who are dedicated to improving their school and community by actively serving others through volunteer service,” said Heather Wills, Chair of the BAPA Education Committee.  “These students demonstrate inventive and creative ideas that make our community stronger, and they are compassionate, reliable and hard-working as well.”  

Students were selected by their principals and all of the public schools were invited to participate. Each student will receive a $25 gift certificate from Bookies.  

The winners are . . . 

Brooklynn Harper, Winter Norman and Nina Payne, Barnard School 

Last spring, Leah Preabt, a 3rd grader at Queen of Martyrs Elementary school attended a funeral and learned that flowers from that funeral were donated to an organization that repurposes them. Instead of the flowers being left behind, they are made into small bouquets, and delivered to hospitals, nursing homes or veteran organizations. Leah started an organization called Bouquets of Kindness. She distributed fliers to local funeral homes and started getting calls to come and pick up donated flowers and distribute them to people who needed some good will.  

Last fall, three students at Barnard Elementary were looking for a community service project. When Nina Payne, Winter Norman and Brooklynn Harper heard of Bouquets of Kindness from their teacher, they loved it. They started Flowers for a Smile with the same goals in mind, to repurpose flowers from funerals to bring joy to others. They were able to get flowers from Grace and Murphy Funeral Service who were kind enough to deliver them to Barnard. The girls then made the flowers into bouquets and delivered them to seniors at Crestwood Terrace Nursing Care. Nina, Winter and Brooklynn said it was a great experience. They not only brought joy to a group of seniors, but had a great time themselves. 

Nora Sorensen, Clissold School  

Nora Sorensen is a passionate, hardworking young scholar who is always willing to serve others while supporting Clissold School. She participates in and volunteers at almost every event and serves the community in various projects with Girl Scouts. Nora has created gift baskets for kids with cancer and volunteered at homeless shelters. Most recently, she helped clean the Metra train station at 103rd Street and donated her time to support Clissold kindergarten and 1st grade students at math night. Nora also volunteers at Maggie Daley Park where she assisted children participating in Easter egg hunts, and with Special Olympics. 


Meah Pierre, Kellogg School 

Meah Pierre has logged in more Service Learning Hours than any other Kellogg student over the past year and a half. Meah is actively involved in volunteering with the Garden Club, creating a student Garden Club Scavenger Hunt, selling concessions for the Kellogg Athletic Association, getting dirty during Clean and Green, helping out during Kellogg’s 80th Anniversary Picnic, and being a member of the Student-Principal Advisory Committee to improve the school. She truly embodies the character and spirit of the Kellogg Wolfpack. 


Andrew Zambrano, Sutherland School 

Andrew Zambrano is an exemplar 8th grade student at Sutherland School. He shows kindness and respect to his peers, the staff, and our community.  Andrew comes in early to help his teachers and often recognizes his teachers for their hard work with notes and gestures of appreciation.  Andrew is reliable and willing to help his peers when asked, always going above and beyond.  For Andrew’s community project he hand-made 100 blankets to be donated to patients going through dialysis. He showed a tremendous amount of dedication and responsibility throughout the project, as well as throughout all of his academic experiences at Sutherland.   


Charles Byers IV, Vanderpoel Humanities Academy 

Charles Byers IV is a model 8th grade student at Vanderpoel Humanities Academy.  He entered Vanderpoel as a kindergartener and has been a staple of the learning community from the beginning.  Always interested in audio-visual technology, Charles became the leader of the school’s audio-visual team as a 4th grader.  Since then, he has transitioned into leading the school’s first ever designated stage crew.  He is the school DJ and provides music, video and technology services for school wide performances as well as the entire learning community.  Charles has offered technology services for professional development sessions, the inventory of equipment and lends a hand with janitorial needs.  In addition, he teaches and trains younger students in technology. He is the school’s “go to guy” for technology and so much more. Charles is also a karate champion and provides demonstrations for younger students in other cities. He has also spearheaded fundraising efforts to financially support other karate students to allow them to attend karate tournaments throughout the United States. 

Erica Taylor, Morgan Park High School 

Erica Taylor is an honor roll student in the Academic Center at MPHS. She has served as a manager of the girls track team and helps tutor students in her Spanish class.  A teacher recently shared that Erica helps all students but is especially kind and helpful to a student with cancer who misses a lot of school and relies on Erica’s assistance.  Erica volunteers at Brainerd Park where she is a member of the Teen Leadership Connection. She helps kids in the afterschool program with homework, games, art, dancing and sports.  Her community service includes helping with fundraisers for the dance and cheer teams at Brainerd Park, collecting items for victims of domestic violence and for Chicago’s homeless, and donating toys to shelters for Christmas. Erica is currently working on a social media project called “Teen Town Hall”   that is designed to get other teens engaged in politics. 


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