Janesville72.2°

Walworth County students honored for community service

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STANLEY B. MILAM
April 21, 2012
— The connection between Riely Mikrut and Sal Dimiceli was striking.

Mikrut, a Badger High School senior, was one of 12 Walworth County high school students honored for community service Friday at the Day of Difference celebration in the Riviera Ballroom.


Dimiceli, an area activist for the poor, gave the keynote address.


Mikrut and Dimiceli both use their faith to guide them.


“I do it for God,” Mikrut said, explaining why she devotes time to help children in Haiti.


Mikrut will travel to the impoverished country Tuesday to see firsthand the results of her financial contributions. Taking part in a 30-hour fast, she raised enough money to feed seven kids in Haiti for a year.


Dimiceli, who grew up in poverty on Chicago’s west side, has contributed more than $4 million to relieve poverty among those he calls his fellow creation.


“I use that phrase because we are all God’s creation,” Dimiceli said. “After seeing my mother suffer from poverty, I promised God I would try to set an example of what humanity should be and devote my life to easing the pain of poverty.”


Dimiceli is a natural role model for Mikrut, who worked through World Vision—a program to sponsor a child in poverty, to create a senior project to help children in Haiti.


“I want to give people hope and let them know that God is there for them,” she said.


Elkhorn Area High School students Ruth McLeod and Aaron Gottschalk were honored Friday for their work closer to home.


McLeod, who has Type 1 diabetes, worked with the Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving lives through finding a cure for the disease.


“Everyone should be able to make a difference, and that’s why I’m doing this,” McLeod said.


Gottschalk was honored for his work with Random Acts of Kindness, an organization dedicated to inspiring people to practice kindness. Gottschalk concentrates on working to keep the local Girl Scout camp clean and providing gifts for the poor.


“You feel a great sense of reward by helping others in need,” Gottschalk said.


Mercy Foundation in Janesville was one of the event sponsors.


“This event is part of our commitment not only to Rock County, but to Walworth County as well,” said Jennifer Johns, Mercy Foundation director of development. “This was our first step in Walworth County, and it was a huge success.”


Other honorees

Along with Riely Mikrut, Ruth McLeod and Aaron Gottschalk, these students were honored during Friday’s program. They are listed along with their high schools and projects:


-- Lake Geneva Badger High School: Elliot Huemann—ELS tutor, Honduras well water project, Children’s World Impact.


-- Walworth Big Foot High School: Quincy Shoultz—Uses his Spanish language skills to work with ELS students and build connections within the school.


-- Brittany Rambatt—Operation Christmas Child/Samaritans Purse, Big Foot FFA, Walworth County Junior Leaders.


-- Williams Bay High School: David Dowling—School photographer and auditorium director, St. Benedict’s Bible School volunteer and promotional committee member at the church; Caroline Brown—Barrett Memorial Library volunteer, student council food drive and history club’s Adopt-a-Highway program.


-- Delavan-Darien High School: Francisco Altamirano—Peer mentoring program, Rotary student of the month; Cassandra Hinojosa—Peer mentoring program and student of the month.


-- Faith Christian School: Brandon Valedez—One Game, One Cause, One Community, a basketball game with Williams Bay to raise money for DPIG brain cancer research; Callie Bunker—Child Evangelism Fellowship, a program working with children ages 3-12.



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