Spotlight Awards

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and the Illinois Press Association announced Wednesday the winners of the annual Spotlight on Achievement and Spotlight on Service awards recognizing outstanding literacy students and tutors in Illinois.  The awards were presented at a ceremony at the State Library.

“I am honored to congratulate these outstanding students for their hard work and determination in seeking to obtain lifelong learning skills,” said Secretary White. “And I am equally proud of our ten outstanding tutors for their generosity and encouragement in helping literacy students achieve their utmost potential.”

Ten students were recognized for outstanding achievement in developing and improving their literacy skills. They are:

  • Burnice Blair, a student at Common Place Family Learning Center, Peoria
  • Marco Ceja, Waukegan Public Library (as a partner in Lake County Adult Learning Connection)
  • Michael Dellar, Blue Gargoyle Community Services, Chicago
  • Alexandra Fleming, Kaskaskia College Reading Link Program, Centralia
  • Wantanee Freeman, YWCA Adult Literacy, Pekin
  • Delfino Garcia, Oakton Community College, Skokie
  • Bernice Husher, Kaskaskia College, Centralia
  • Jerry Mezo, John A. Logan College, Carterville
  • Christine Moeller, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (Frontier), Fairfield
  • Roshonda Smith, De La Salle/Tolton Center, Chicago

The ten winners each received a $200 check from the Illinois Press Association Foundation, a plaque presented by Secretary White, a personalized Illinois Blue Book and ten books donated by Delta Systems. 
Ten outstanding tutors were honored for their contributions in helping literacy students reach their goals. They are:

  • Donald Bartak, a volunteer tutor at Prairie State College, Chicago Heights
  • Robert Brown, Waubonsee Community College, Aurora
  • John Fendrich, Common Place Family Learning Center and LVA/Project U.P.W.A.R.D., Peoria
  • Ellen Hooker, Regional Office of Education – St. Clair County, Belleville
  • Robert Mathis, De La Salle Institute/Tolton Adult Education Center, Chicago
  • Carol Randall, YWCA Adult Literacy, Pekin
  • Ruth Richert, Spoon River College Literacy Project, Macomb
  • Diana Schueler, YWCA Adult Literacy, Pekin
  • Paul Strauss, Blue Gargoyle Community Services, Chicago
  • Beverly Wheatley, Kaskaskia College, Centralia

The ten Spotlight on Service winning tutors received a plaque and personalized Illinois Blue Book from Secretary White, and $200 is being donated by the Illinois Press Association Foundation on behalf of each award-winning tutor to the literacy program where they serve as volunteers.

Students and tutors are nominated from among the nearly 200 local providers who receive literacy grant funding from the Secretary of State/Illinois State Library Literacy Office. Last year adult literacy programs that receive grant funding provided educational services to nearly 24,000 adult students. Nearly 8,700 volunteer tutors gave their time to help students develop and enhance their reading, writing, math and language skills.   Persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors are urged to contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 1-800-321-9511.

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