WOODRIDGE – During the Dec. 3 Community Recognition Awards, the village of Woodridge honored 13 residents and businesses, and named three teens as the Youth Citizens of the Year.
Anita Cikoch, Anthony Turrubiates and Lauren Weglarz were each nominated by their grade schools for the recognition program, which awards individuals or groups for outstanding community service.
The nominated candidates must have provided a service that benefited the well being of people in Woodridge. Winners were honored at a ceremonial dinner at Bobak’s Signature Events, 6440 Double Eagle Drive.
Now a freshman at Benet Academy, Anita Cikoch was nominated by Lakeview School for her academic excellence throughout junior high.
“It was really kind of a shock,” said Cikoch, who’s now on the Benet girls swim team and sings in choir. “It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work that I’ve put into my school work.”
Cikoch said it’s important to set goals in school so there’s more motivation and something to strive for.
“Right now, I feel like I have a lot of good teachers who are all dedicated and it makes me want to do better in school,” Cikoch said.
Anthony Turrubiates was named Youth Citizen of the Year for his academic achievements as well as his extracurricular activities.
An eighth-grader at Jefferson Junior High, Turrubiates not only has a 3.8 GPA, but also participates in wrestling, cross country and track and field and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
“[The award] shows you can do anything you put your mind to no matter what you’re doing,” Turrubiates said. “Set your standards high because the sky’s the limit.”
The final youth citizen of the year received her award for the hard work she does outside of the classroom.
Every Sunday morning, Lauren Weglarz volunteers to teach religious ed classes at St. Scholastica, her alma mater, for pre-schoolers and kindergartners.
Weglarz, a freshman at Montini Catholic High School, began teaching after volunteering to be a tutor at the Woodridge Resource Center.
“I didn’t know anyone was being helped by what I do but it’s great to know people recognized it,” Weglarz said.
Receiving Woodridge’s Youth Citizen of the Year award made Weglarz feel especially honored, she said.
“Volunteering is a part of my life. If I stopped I’d have a small part of my life taken out,” Weglarz said.
Throughout volunteering, Weglarz said she’s had great support from the community.
“It just takes one person to start something big,” she said. “If everyone joins in it can make a huge difference not just to certain people but the whole community.”