AND Foundation LB Sept 19 – Oct 19 2019

During graduation ceremonies for the James Hart School Class of 2020, eight students were selected for special honors.

The Betty Dillon Award was awarded to Ava Loudon, Sydney Valentine and Madison Vitolka for achieving straight A grades in seventh and eighth grades in the district’s most rigorous courses: high school-level geometry, accelerated foreign language, accelerated English language arts. 

The award is named for a District 153 school board member who served more than 30 years. 

Ava Loudon and Catrell Washington were awarded the Wally Burns VFW Post 8077 Award. It recognizes students who display honor, courage, leadership and service. Ava and Catrell were nominated for the award by teachers.


Ava was recognized as someone who cares for others. 

“Her heart is pure and true and she knows the value of time in giving her time to others,” one teacher wrote. Ava served as president of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), played cross-country, soccer and volleyball and was on the stage crew for the Hart spring musical. Outside of school she has volunteered at the South Suburban Humane Society, with Feed My Starving Children and at South Suburban Family Shelter.

Catrell was selected for his positive qualities, his honor and consideration for his classmates and teachers. Teachers said Catrell has “the courage to change a negative situation into a positive one.” Teachers also appreciated that he never would “say anything negative about another student.”

Eli Burr and Emma Steiner were awarded the PTA Service Award recognizing students with outstanding contributions of time and talents to make James Hart a better place.

Eli is known for leading by example, and his positive efforts have helped make Hart a “kinder, more generous place to be,” teachers said. Eli has been a member of the broadcasting program, Friends of Rachel, NJHS, piano club and chess team. 

Emma is “one of the most kind-hearted students I’ve ever had at James Hart,” one teacher said, adding Emma shows “the ultimate dedication to others and making this world a better place.” 

At Hart, Emma has been a member of NJHS, Student Council, Scholastic Bowl, Friends of Rachel, and was a member of the cross country and volleyball teams, Broadcasting Club, Geography Bee and worked on the spring musical. She has volunteered at her church, with Special Olympics and the South Suburban Humane Society.

Troy Farmer and Zainab Ibrahim were awarded the Homewood Rotary 4-Way Test Award. It recognizes students who personify truthfulness, fairness, goodwill and friendship and work for the benefit of the community.

Troy was recognized as a quiet student, but “his jovial side helped make the classroom fun,” one teacher said. “Troy is so amiable he brings humor, trust and loyalty to his peers and adults.”  He has helped fellow students understand difficult concepts and he has been willing to speak up for what he believes is right.

Zainab is “true to herself, reliable, hard working and a dependable student,” one teacher said. “Her maturity far exceeds that of a typical eighth grader, and she doesn’t waiver from a position, even if her opinion isn’t a popular one.”

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