Students earn STAR awards for service

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Madison-Plains High School senior Kasey England-Widas (center) is this year’s recipient of Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center’s Dr. Daniel Kaffenbarger Community STAR Award. Joining him are his parents, Lisa England-Widas (left) and Rick Widas).

(Posted Nov. 17, 2022)

On Nov. 9, the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center (ESC) held its 4th Annual Community STARs Service Award program. The ESC staff developed this program to recognize students in both counties who best exemplify servant leaders.

These students know what it means to serve the needs of others. The essence of servant leadership is a deliberate attitude of a person looking outside of himself or herself and focusing on the needs of those around them.

Honorees excel in the areas of service, teamwork, attitude and reliability. They are the first to serve the needs of others, sacrificing time, effort and material resources. They are great team members, focusing on the goals of the team and ignoring their own goals for the greater good. These students exhibit a positive attitude even in the face of adversity, all while being reliable day-in and day-out and being consistently servant-minded.

Servant leadership as a philosophy holds the key to advancing the greater good of a school, an organization and a nation. Those who adopt this philosophy personally and professionally take their eyes off themselves, look at what others really need and take action to meet those needs.

This year’s STAR honorees include: Brezlyn Reneer (Graham, sophomore), Megan Krummrey (Jonathan Alder, senior), Patrick Cooney and David Stukey (London, seniors), Kasey England-Widas and Hannah Geyer (Madison-Plains, seniors), Avaley Bostick (Mechanicsburg, sophomore), Luke Ford (Triad, sophomore), Shayln Smiles (Triad and Ohio Hi-Point, junior), Jonathan Hildebrand (senior) and Xavier Snyder (junior) (Urbana), and Owen Harrison (West Liberty-Salem, senior).

Each honoree was asked to invite and honor a Person of Impact, as strong leaders are developed through the influence of others. Awardees honored individuals who have had a positive impact on their character and leadership development which included parents, teachers, mentors, coaches, youth leaders, and pastors.

The adoption of this philosophy started with retired ESC superintendent, Dr. Daniel Kaffenbarger. In his 13.5 years at the agency, servant leadership became a priority. Each year, one of the students being honored is selected to receive the Dr. Daniel Kaffenbarger Community STAR Award, formerly known as the Super STAR award.

This year’s recipient is Kasey England-Widas of Madison-Plains. Kasey serves as an example for underclassmen as they are learning how to navigate high school, demonstrating reliability through work completion and attendance, as well as kindness and respect of multiple perspectives during class debates. He participates in martial arts and national and international mission trips.

This year’s award program was made possible by numerous financial sponsors: Bundy Baking Solutions, EBY, KTH Parts Industries Inc., Park National Bank, the People’s Savings Bank, and State Farm Insurance agent Erin Patton. Refreshment donations were provided by Der Dutchman, Farmer’s Daughter, Let’s Eat Cake, and Vallery Farmhouse Bakery. Student recognition gifts were provided by Burger King, Marie’s Candies, and Subway.

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