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LaRocca: Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders

Community voice

Each year as the school term nears an end, the Addison Chamber of Commerce and Industry requests a list of the top 30 graduating students from Addison Trail High School in order to recognize their accomplishments.

Those students were invited to the Annual Student Honors Banquet on April 22 at The Empress Banquets to attend as the guests of chamber members, many of whom also attended. In addition, the parents of these students also were invited to share in the evening to acknowledge their outstanding students.

Addison Mayor Richard Veenstra was the first speaker of the evening, followed by Deborah Panzarella, a past graduate, who shared her experiences as she continues on her journey to success. An outstanding address was then given by 2014 graduating student Morgan Pirtle. Following the speeches, each of the graduating students were acknowledged individually and presented with a certificate from the chamber.

As part of the annual tradition, scholarship awards then followed. The funds that make the scholarship possible come from the generous support of our members, who support our events and activities throughout the year. Applications are accepted from the students invited to the dinner, any Addison Trail student who wishes to apply, and the children of our members.

Applications are reviewed in a blind procedure, where all manners of identification are removed prior to submittal to the committee. Final ratings are compiled by staff, determining the application with the highest combined score. This year the winner of the scholarship was awarded to the highest-scoring applicant, Brian Carman, the son of a chamber member.

Following that presentation, the Herman DeVry Scholarship was awarded to Dominika Hassmann, and the A.J. LaRocca Memorial Foundation scholarship was awarded to Hugo Reyes.

We heartily congratulate not only these top students, but also all of the 2014 graduating class from Addison Trail, as well as other neighboring schools. They have been successful in meeting and often excelling the requirements to complete this first step in preparing for their careers and adult lives. We wish each of them well and hope that whatever their chosen field may be, they continue to “reach for the stars” and enjoy the rewards of their success throughout their lives.

For more information about chamber events or how to become a member, please contact our office at 630-543-4300 or To be added to our email list to receive notices about these and all of our upcoming events, please visit our website at and click on the link to add your email address.

Bernadette LaRocca is the executive director of the Addison Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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