The Christiana Tillson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a brunch on Saturday, March 2, at the Free Methodist Church in Hillsboro to honor the Good Citizens from six area High Schools. The winners of the Good Citizens award are selected by teachers and peers for exhibiting the qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.
This year's Good Citizen award winners were Grace Anderson of Hillsboro High School, Carlee Ernst of Litchfield High School, Cambria Underwood of Lincolnwood High School, Cody Knodle of Nokomis High School, Lillian Gretak of Mt. Olive High School and Chloee Peterson of Staunton High School.
Grace Anderson is the daughter of Jason and Jennifer Anderson of Hillsboro. During her time at Hillsboro High School she has participated in Future Farmers of America, tennis, soccer and dance team. She is a member of student council and has been inducted into the National Honor Society. In addition to the Good Citizens Award, Anderson was selected the winner of the DAR Good Citizens Essay contest, and will represent the Christiana Tillson DAR chapter at the district and state level. Anderson plans to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia where she will major in horticulture. Following completion of her degree she plans to join the Peace Corps.
Carlee Ernst is the daughter of Paul and Christine Ernst of Litchfield. She has been involved in volleyball, pep club and band throughout her time at Litchfield High School. Ernst is active in her church as a youth and Sunday school teacher. She plans to attend Illinois College, where she wants to major in psychology with the goal of pursuing a career as an elementary school guidance counselor.
Cambria Underwood is the daughter of Stephen Underwood and Christine Stimac of Farmersville. She is involved in Lincolnwood High School's drama club, choir, Spanish club, LCSO and is president of her class. She is actively involved in the Lincolnwood Community Service Organization. Following graduation Underwood plans to study pre-med at Eastern Illinois University with the goal of becoming a dermatologist.
Cody Knodle is the son of Mark and Julie Knodle of Fillmore. He is the section-19 FFA Vice President and the Nokomis High FFA chapter president. He is involved in National Honor Society, soccer and tutors fellow students. He has organized fundraisers to support ranchers affected by wildfires, assists in cleaning up Montgomery Fairgrounds each year, packs bags of food for the homeless each month and volunteers at his church's annual pancake and sausage supper. Knodle competitively shows cattle throughout the country, on both the local and national levels. He plans to attend junior college on a livestock judging scholarship majoring in agronomy and to transfer to a four-year university, where he will continue livestock judging and studying agronomy. After graduation, Knodle plans to return to the family farm growing corn, soy beans and raising cattle.
Lillian Gretak is the daughter of Robert and Christine Gretak. During her time at Mt. Olive High School she has participated in volleyball, track, yearbook, pep club and is a member of the National Honor Society. She volunteers regularly at Mt. Olive High School's care center. Gretak also volunteers with the Special Olympics and a haunted house benefit that raises money for cancer patients. She plans to attend Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville where she will major in nursing.
Chloee Peterson is the daughter of Rob and Kim Peterson of New Douglas. She has been involved in soccer, student council, Prom Committee and National Honor Society throughout her time at Staunton High School. Peterson is Drum Major of the SHS band, secretary of the Bulldog Betterment Club, vice president of the FFA, class treasurer and homecoming queen. She volunteers at Ronald McDonald House with her parents and helps deliver food baskets to the needy. Peterson plans to attend Blackburn College as a pre-veterinary major and to later attend veterinary school.
Each of the students recognized by the DAR's Good Citizen Award will receive a $1,000 scholarship with an additional $500 awarded to the Christiana Tillson Chapter (essay) winner. The funding of these scholarships is made possible through the chapter's annual trivia night and sponsorships from within the student's communities.
"We are so excited to be able to give bigger scholarships this year than we have been able to in the past. It is thanks to everyone that supports our annual trivia night and community sponsors," stated Christiana Tillson's Good Citizen's program head Kendra Wright. "This scholarship means a lot to the members of our chapter because it honors students based on qualities of service. Unlike most scholarships the Good Citizen's award is not based on academic performance or pursuing career paths in specific areas, it is based solely on personal integrity and service to the community.