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Local News

Schott: Inspiration found at Troy school

If you’re looking for a little inspiration this week, look no further than the students in Allison Acevedo’s Citizenship through Community Service class at William B. Orenic Intermediate School in the Troy School District.

WBO Principal Larry Piatek said the 12-week class is for fifth-grade students and aims to instill at an early age the importance of community service and how rewarding it can be.

Acevedo said students talk about community needs and then do a volunteer service project that will benefit a local organization or residents. Projects so far this year have included a book drive, taking part in Operation Care Package, holding a food drive and then volunteering at a local food pantry, and helping out at Hopeful Tails Animal Shelter.

And for their efforts, the school was named Volunteers of the Week for the week of March 28 by Serve Illinois, a bipartisan commission appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner with a mission of improving Illinois​ by “enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state.”

Acevedo said she was thrilled the whole class was recognized.

“It’s an honor for them to know what they have done has been honored by others,” she said.

“We felt honored to be acknowledged by this group,” Piatek added.

Piatek praised Acevedo’s passion and creativity for making it a successful class, and noted the enthusiasm for giving back is “becoming contagious throughout the building.” He said the class has helped build a bridge between the school and community, and has shown students that they should not expect to just take things from the community, but to give back.

Acevedo said the best part of the class for her is seeing her students collaborate and the time and energy they invest into doing their projects right. She also enjoys reading the reflections students write at the end of the class.

“Even kids you don’t expect to hear much from, they can’t stop writing and share their positive experiences and how they want to continue to do more,” she said. “It’s always very rewarding.”

Too often, we hear about what kids are doing wrong. It was wonderful to find a powerful example of kids doing something so right.

Joliet connects

The Herald-News this past week introduced a new way for readers and community members to connect online with the launch of the Facebook group Joliet Connect.

The group is a place for people in the Joliet area to share information and converse about events and other local news. While it’s moderated by Herald-News Digital Editor Anna Schier and Features Editor Denise Baran-Unland, Joliet Connect is a forum open to anyone.

The group encourages a wide range of postings – events, photos, shares and more – not just links to articles such as those readers typically see on the publication’s official Facebook page.

We hope you’ll join us online.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News.

• Kate Schott is editor of The Herald-News, the Morris Herald-News and Herald Life. She can be reached at or 815-280-4119. Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Schott78.

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