Young Women of Achievement Award Winners: Where are They Now?

Contributing Writer - Kathleen KaiserMarch 7, 2013 

Since 2005, The Rotary Club of Belleville has recognized the best and brightest seniors from the four Belleville High Schools with the annual Young Women of Achievement Award. We wanted to share with Lipstik readers what course a few of their lives have taken since receiving this prestigious award:

Lauren Hettenhausen Class of 2005 Althoff Catholic High School Community Service Award WINNER

Attended McKendree University and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in English.

While studying at McKendree, Lauren became involved in McKendree University’s Rotaract Club, where she served as Secretary and Special Events Coordinator. She also served as a student ambassador, Editor- in- Chief of the McKendree University Yearbook, a member of the Literary Interest Society, and honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Phi and Sigma Tau Delta.

Lauren then began her coursework in international studies, when in 2006, Lauren was selected as a Technos Scholar and traveled to Japan for a two-week study abroad exchange. Also in 2006, Lauren was chosen as the only representative from North America to take part in the Maui Outdoor Rotaract Experience, a cultural exchange sponsored by Maui’s Rotary family, which included Rotaractors from five different countries. In 2008, Lauren chose to take part in an education-driven mission trip to Ecuador, sharing her experiences of life in the United States becoming a “Friend of Funedesin.” Her group helped teach English to primary school students, assisted at a vocational high school, delivered water filtration systems in this unincorporated area, and provided toys and athletic equipment for the children who live in the Amazon Rainforest.

In 2009, Lauren began teaching 6th grade Language Arts at Grant Middle School. In 2011, Lauren became the 6th grade Language Arts Teacher at Mascoutah Middle School. Along with teaching, Lauren is also the co-sponsor of their Book Club, an after-school tutor for the District, and a coordinator of the Association for Bright Learners’ Educational program for gifted students in grades K-8. Lauren is also still involved at McKendree University on the Joint Advisory Council and Council on Teacher Education, while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership.

Lauren has continued to be an active participant in Rotary since High School, becoming one of the founding members of the new Rotary Club in O’Fallon - Rotary Club of St. Clair County Sunset. She is presently in a five year relationship with “the best boyfriend ever” Robert Studley, who she met at McKendree, and spends her spare time with a girl’s best friend, her dog Zoey.

Lauren shared “ I would like to give a special thanks to my loving parents for all of their support and guidance, to my sisters for setting great examples, to my friends and boyfriend for making me smile and laugh daily, to my nieces, nephews, and students for keeping me young at heart, and to my professors, coworkers, and employers who have helped make it possible for me to do what I love every day. Although he’s no longer with us, I’d also like to express my deepest gratitude for my late brother-in-law, Jay Baer. He showed us how to persevere in the face of adversity, and he helped me to more fully appreciate each day I have with the people I love.”

Jordin Harth Gouge Class of 2008 Belleville Township High School East ARTS Award WINNER

Attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education.

While studying at SIUE, Jordin continued playing the trombone in the Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra on campus. Jordin continued her educational excellence by becoming a Meridian Scholar and member of the Music Honor Society at SIUE. Jordin also served as the Music Director at Shiloh United Methodist Church while in College.

On October 27, 2012, Jordin married her high school sweetheart, Brad Gouge, whom she has dated since her Sophmore year. This January, Jordin started her career in Music Education as the Music Director at Shiloh Middle School, teaching music to 4th-8th grade students.

Jordin shared “I would like to thank God, my family, Tony DiPasquale, and Mark Tessereau for all being key pieces in my musical success.”

Jackie Juscius LeBeau Class of 2005 Althoff Catholic High School Athletic Award WINNER

Attended University of Illinois and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture

While studying at the University of Illinois, Jackie became a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, danced as member of the Illinettes Dance Team for 4 years, and traveled to take part in the Rose Bowl as an Illinette in 2008. Also in the summer of 2008, Jackie studied abroad in Galway, Ireland.

After graduating, Jackie moved to Chicago and became a horticulturalist at the pristine Chicago Botanical Gardens. In June of 2010, Jackie married her high school sweetheart, 1st Lieutenant David LeBeau, United States Marine Corp. After marrying David, they moved to Stafford, VA, where Jackie became the Chief Landscaper at Quantico Marine Base. Jackie and David have since moved to Yuma, Arizona, where she is Lead Research Biologist at RD4Ag (Research Design 4 Agriculture). Jackie also volunteers for the Navy/Marine Corp Relief Society and serves as the Dance team Coach on base.

Jackie would like to take this opportunity to express her sincere thanks to her parents and Ms. Orella Gansmann, Dance Instructor at Althoff Catholic High School, who recently passed away. “Ms. Gansmann gave me my start as a freshman on the Varsity Dance Team, because she believed in my abilities. It is because of her belief in me and the love and support of my Mom and Dad in every aspect of my life, that I am the person I am today.”

Katie Lundy Class of 2008 Belleville Township High School West Community Service Award WINNER

Attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology

While studying at SIUE, Katie was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority, the Psychology Club, and received additional Community Service awards for her work with Relay for Life, College’s Against Cancer, and the American Cancer Society. Katie also was a large proponent and activist for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Target House campaigns, raising funds to cure childhood cancers. Katie also does public speaking engagements throughout the Metropolitan St. Louis Community, discussing her own story about childhood cancers, their treatment, and how you learn to be a Survivor. Katie was diagnosed at 11 and is proud to say that she is now 23 and living a “normal” life.

In June of 2012, Katie began working for an employment recruiting company in St Louis, Missouri. Another goal she has set for herself - besides the fact that she graduated in 4 years from College while being on 4 different kinds of Chemotherapy -is to write a book about her life and experiences throughout her journey because, according to Katie, “staying positive in life, regardless of our struggles, is what it is all about.”

Katie shared “I want to thank my family and friends for all their love and support through the years, which has led me to becoming the person I am today. If it wasn’t for all of them, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Amanda Ward Class of 2007 Belleville Township High School East Community Service Award WINNER

Attended University of Illinois and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, with a minor in French and is presently attending St. Louis University School of Law.

While studying at U of I, Amanda raised over $24,000 through her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta to support Diabetes research and also raised funds for the American Cancer Society through their Relay for Life local event. Amanda received another Community Service Award from the Liberal Art & Sciences at U of I, for her development of the Clean up the Streets campaign, a bi-annual campus and local highway clean up event. Amanda also volunteers at the Cosgrove Soup Kitchen in East St. Louis preparing and serving meals three times annually, and at the St. Mary’s Vacation Bible School, creating and facilitating lesson plans for over 100 students. In 2009, Amanda went to work over Spring Break with Habitat for Humanity in Bay St. Louis, Louisiana, building a home for a family victimized by Hurricane Katrina. In 2012, Amanda performed a summer internship as a Domestic Violence Advocate at the VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) office within the Madison county courthouse, and worked at the Oasis Women’s Center in Alton, IL.

Presently, while attending Law School and serving in a staff capacity for the St. Louis University Law Journal, Amanda also serves as a caretaker is a member of CASA and tutors two students in Communication Arts at the L’Overture Middle School in St. Louis. Amanda received another award last year, as she was presented with the Tutor of the Year award for the 2011-2012 School year at L’Overture. Amanda has also been nominated for a Community Service Scholarship at St. Louis University School of Law.

Amanda would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge her mother, Darlene Ward, who has afforded her many opportunities thus far, and has instilled the importance of community service into her life. Amanda feels that her mom is definitely her role model and everything that she aspires to be.

Margaret McGlynn Class of 2006 Althoff Catholic High School ACADEMIC Award WINNER

Attended Creighton University and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Presently attends Cornell University in New York City studying Medicine.

While studying at Creighton, Margaret served as a resident advisor and was involved in the Cortina Community, where she volunteered and studied ethics, politics and social justice. Margaret also took part in tutoring students in Omaha NE who were part of the largest Sudanese population outside of Africa, and did additional tutoring throughout the community. While on spring break, Margaret led Service trips from Nashville to St. Louis and Omaha.

In 2007, Margaret met Father Michael Mujule while she was at home visiting. He left such a lasting impression on Margaret and her sisters that they began an international non-profit organization called NETwork Against Malaria. Since 2007, Margaret and her sisters have raised over $100,000, distributed over 15,000 nets and have created chapters for the organization in over 18 states, with more than 30,000 students joining in their cause to eradicate malaria in Uganda.

In 2011, Cornell University underwrote Margaret’s trip to Uganda, so she could research Kaposi-Sarcoma -a cancer that affects patients with HIV/AIDS. When Margaret wasn’t researching, she had the opportunity to travel throughout Uganda, learning of the nation and its people, and the deplorable living conditions they endure, especially in Katulikirie. While in Katulikirie, she met many children throughout this community that attend the 58 parishes and schools overseen by Fr. Francis Banura, a student of Fr. Mujule’s. Since Margaret has left Uganda, NETwork Against Malaria has distributed over 10,000 nets to this area, and according to Margaret, they will continue to secure the funding necessary to make sure that each child in Katulikirie has a net to keep them safe from contracting malaria.

Margaret is presently in her third year of Medical School, starting her rotation at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. While in medical school, Margaret has performed research studies surrounding medical education, epidemiological information about the uninsured population in NYC, acquiring information regarding best approaches for treating pediatric desmoid tumors, and most recently, has researched risk factors for glaucoma.

Margaret will be making her second trip to Uganda this summer on behalf of NETwork Against Malaria. On a personal note, Margaret is engaged to her best friend and fellow physician, Dan Reynolds, whom she met at Creighton and will marry in early 2014.

Margaret would like to express her sincere thanks for the efforts of many individuals throughout Belleville, especially Althoff Catholic High School and Our Lady Queen of Peace and fellow cluster parishes. The students, parishioners and staff, along with individuals from Creighton University, have assisted to accomplish all that NETwork Against Malaria has done. Margaret (and her family) are truly grateful for the continued support from the Community for this project.

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