Two Oswego High School seniors, Grace Chmielinski and Justin Allen, were honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution with the Good Citizen Award as a result of their strong leadership and patriotism. The senior class voted for the top candidates in their class, and the top selections were passed on to teachers to finalize the results.
The Good Citizen award “recognizes and rewards individuals who possess the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities,” according to the Daughters of the American Revolution Association.
Chmielinski’s eyes lit up instantly and she smiled happily when asked how it felt to be recognized for this award.
“I’m super honored and flattered, just that my peers chose me obviously, and that the teachers got to vote. It’s exciting of course,” Chmielinski said.
For Allen, this recognition serves as confirmation that he has achieved the positive impact that he desired among the OHS community.
“My mom never pressured me to be super smart or athletic, all she wanted was for me to be a nice person, to spread kindness and compassion. This award shows I’ve done just that,” Allen said.
Allen also makes it easy to see why he was selected, as he emphasizes integrity daily.
“I live by the golden rule…You never know what someone else is going through, so if I’m able to be a bright spot in someone’s day then I’m going to do it,” Allen said.
Chmielinski has been very involved in her four years at OHS, participating in Mathletes, Orange Crew, and various national honor societies. She has enjoyed working with all of her teachers, but some stood out as a result of their help during her academic career.
“Three of the teachers that I think have had the biggest impact on me have been Ms. Keyvan, Mr. Pelzer, and Mr. Prigodich. They just are constantly giving me good advice and just encouraging me,” Chmielinski said. She plans on furthering her education at the University of Arizona next fall.
Similarly, Allen is extremely involved at OHS, partaking in a variety of sports and clubs. This year, he helped to form a new club, ‘Best Buddies,’ a group that encourages students to bond and create friendships with students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Allen is passionate about basketball, as he both plays at the varsity level and coaches for the special olympics. He is also an active member of B.I.O.N.I.C., further spreading his love for helping others. Allen plans on studying physical education and continuing his basketball career at Millikin University.
Both Chmielinski and Allen have made an overwhelmingly positive impact on OHS in the last four years, and students and staff welcomed the opportunity to recognize that through this prestigious award.