Concordia honors five with Learning and Leadership awards

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Concordia University in River Forest has announced the 2006 recipients of its Community Awards for Excellence in Learning and Leadership, and the student Servant-Leadership Award recipient.

The distinguished recipients for 2006 are:

? Margaret Amato, Associate Managing Director, The PrivateBank for Outstanding Community Leadership

? Robert Libka, chief education officer for Proviso Township High Schools for Outstanding Dedication/Contribution in the field of education

? Rev. Stanley Davis, Jr. and Christine Davis for philanthropy

? Rachel Steel, Class of 2007, Servant-Leadership Award.

Amato, the recipient for Outstanding Community Leadership has served on various committees with the Oak Park and River Forest Chamber of Commerce from 2000- 2004, and as president of the chamber board in 2003-2004; volunteered for eight consecutive years with the United Way (in Cicero), including one year as chairperson; Served as income and development chair for the American Cancer Society-Cicero branch; spent eight years of service as vice president on the board of Older Adults Rehabilitation Services (OARS), a program providing daily activity and services in a structured environment for seniors; volunteers with the League of Women Voters; mentors teens through the Partner Academy at Morton High School, a program developed to encourage at-risk students to stay in school; serves as a loan committee board officer for the Oak Park Development Corporation; as president of the River Forest Community Center; as a member of the River Forest Service Club; and is on the finance committee for St. Luke's Church in River Forest; among other involvements.

Libka, recipient for Outstanding Dedication/Contribution in the field of education has served as a tutor in the VISTA Big Brother Program; volunteered with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) in the Lake Management Program water clarity testing; founded the Chicago Inner City Tutoring Program in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and the Chicago Inner City Recreational Program in the Hispanic community; participated as a hosting family for more than 50 international students since 1989; and teaches Sunday School and is a youth leader at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, West Suburban Chapter.

Past award recipients:

2005 - Dr. Tyra Manning, former District 90 superintendent; Walter and Dr. Marguerite Bloch

2004 - Harriet Ziegenhals, music educator and choir director; Donald Offermann, vice president of Forest Park National Bank; Martin Noll, president, Community Bank Oak Park-River Forest

2003 - Paul Bouman, music educator, director and composer; Mary Ann Brown, executive director of Hepzhibah Children's Association; Margaret Houck.

The fourth annual event will be marked by a banquet in honor of the recipients, Friday, March 24 at Oak Park Country Club, 2001 Thatcher Road, River Grove. Proceeds from the event support scholarships for local students attending Concordia University. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

OPRF drill teams qualify for state comps

The OPRF High School Varsity Drill and JV Drill teams, coached by OPRF art teacher Melinda Novotny, have qualified for the state competition to be held Feb. 19 at the Red Bird Arena, Illinois State University. OPRF's varsity team placed seventh out of 14 teams in pom and second in high kick. The Junior Varsity team placed second in kick and third in jazz. Each routine was qualifed for the state contest.

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