Outstanding Student Awards

Celebrate Our Students Successes

2015 Outstanding Student Award

2015 Outstanding Student Award Winner – Ronnie Wheeler – Nominated by Cathy Teel – Region 5 – ROE #22


Hadyn Bossany

Nominated by Natalie Luedtke

Region 4 – Nachusa Campus School – Options Campus

After hospitalization for mental health issues due to self harm, Hadyn entered the Nachusa campus school for the 2012/13 school year. She was very behind and struggled. She recognized this and decided to make a change. She is now on track to graduate with her class…

Hadyn brings a positive and vibrant personality to the school. She works well with other students and makes new students feel welcome.

Ashleigh Gregge

Nominated by Crystal Hosselton

Region 8 – Adult Secondary Education

Ashleigh was referred to the ASE program at John A Logan College due to her lack of attendance, failing grades, and “head strong” attitude. It didn’t take long for her confrontational personality to create conflict on classes; with both teachers and peers. Ashleigh dropped out the the program and moved to CO with a boyfriend. After being talked into moving back and re earring her spot in the program, Ashleigh experienced personal growth that is unable to be put into words. Ashleigh will be completing graduation requirements and pursuing art therapy. She has a passion for art and even won our ICEARY t shirt contest, giving her more incentive to follow her dreams.

Ashleigh now realizes the importance of responsibility, accountability, and respect for self and others. She is open and willing to speak about problems. Ashleigh will graduate in May and looks forward to pursuing a degree in art therapy. She has learned that asking for help is not a weakness.

Wendell Letcher

Nominated by Katie Nichols

Region 6 – Regional Alternative School

Wendell entered RAS in the Spring of 2013 with documented learning disabilities in reading and math. He didn’t want that to hold him back and willingly participated in a study on learning activities through ISU. Wendell took charge of improving his abilities in the fall of 2013 by participating in a reading study at ISU. Wendell works at a restaurant, helps with his younger siblings, has a lot of responsibilities at home, and is a great example to all. He is described by teachers as respectful and helpful.

“The most pleasant student they have ever had”

Wendell says, “I want to show that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in life and be extremely successful.”

John Miller

Nominated by Laura Benhoff

Region 7 – New Approach Alternative High School – ROE #3

John’s one passion was football and after the season was over he placed less importance on school. He was eventually expelled for possession of marijuana and referred to the alternative ed program. After much disdain for school and very little effort, John was just riding out his time until he could drop out. All were concerned, except him. John slowly started adapting to the school, realized people really cared and invested in him, and started finding alternatives to anger and complaining. John began investing on others and was even one of the students chosen to go to represent our alternative programs to the state board. John spoke with ease and confidence. He graduated May 2013 and quickly found a job with Midwest Easement Services.

“John is seen as a role model for other students and was very helpful to staff.” Mrs. Section

“John can sit and chat about anything. John has taught me so much about trucks, hunting, and fixing things.” Mrs. Brackett

“John’s determination, leadership, and positive attitude opened many doors to a bright future.” Mrs. Kern.

Ronnie Wheeler

Nominated by Cathy Teel

Region 5 – ROE #22 TAOEP

Ronnie’s transformation this year includes dedication to success, outstanding academic achievement, and a determination to attend school even in circumstances when most people would surely have chosen to stay home.

Ronnie  was referred for truancy in November 2012. After a very difficult childhood surrounded by drugs, family in jail, abuse, and little social support, Ronnie found herself relying on false promises of drugs and alcohol. After her mother died of an overdose on methadone, Ronnie felt lost and confused. After much struggle, Ronnie cleaned up and has been drug free since June 2013. While she still faces the pressure to use on a daily basis she has the guidance and strength to remain sober. She is getting back on track to graduate and looks forward to starting the next chapter of her life. Her transformation this year includes dedication to success, outstanding academic achievement, and a determination to attend school even in the tough times. Ronnie aspires to become a psychologist and help others in a similar situation to her past.