MENDOTA – Mendota High School has announced the winners of the 2020-21 DAR and SAR Good Citizens program, sponsored by the Illini Chapter of NSDAR. Twila Martinson was chosen to receive the DAR award and Perris Stachlewitz was the recipient of the SAR award.
These awards are open to all seniors. The recipients are nominated by fellow senior classmates and the faculty at MHS. Criteria for the DAR and SAR awards include dependability, cooperation, leadership and patriotism.
Martinson is the daughter of Todd and Lisa Martinson.
While in high school, her activities and achievements have included tennis, basketball, track, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Scholastic Bowl, Math Team, Student Council, Homecoming committee, six semesters on the honor roll and BNC All-Conference Scholar-Athlete.
She has also been involved in community service activities and volunteer activities including a variety of activities through her church, Interact, and other organizations including Feed my Starving Children, Kids Against Hunger, volunteer bell ringer for Salvation Army, Rotary Club corn sales, Lions Club corn sales, volunteer at PADs homeless shelter, and donating blood to American Red Cross and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
Outside of school, Martinson works for the city of Mendota, Sip ‘n Snack and babysits. She absolutely loves spending time or having a good laugh with her friends and family. She added that simple things like being outside in the sunshine either going on walks, horseback rides, swimming, fishing, ice skating, and canoeing is a nice way to get away from distractions and chaotic life. She also appreciates a good nap.
In her essay on the four qualities of a DAR Good Citizen (dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism), she said:
In my opinion, I think it is important to care for others and to have a big heart. I have been extremely blessed with the best people in my life who have always gone out of their way to make certain I am doing well. This amazing support system has always made me feel so special and loved and that is how I want others, even strangers, to feel as well. I know how it feels to be both brought down and lifted up, which causes me to believe there is enough hate in this world and the least I can do is bring a smile to someone’s face or make their day. All throughout my life I have tried to put myself in other’s shoes and understand their situation. I know I may not always understand, but I want to at least try to be an ear to hear and a shoulder to cry on. Dependability is putting forth the effort to ensure that those around you are frequently reminded of how important they are and that there is always someone that is there for them.
When I think about service, I instantly think of the word caring. To me, to serve the community is to willingly go out of your way to help others from the kindness of your heart. There are many ways to be a service to the community.
In leadership, I think the biggest thing is never giving up. It is being contented with where you are at but always striving for better. You have to be mentally strong to be a leader. Many of my relatives and ancestors have served for my country including both of my grandpas and my great-grandpa, Freddie Schulze, who fought in the trenches in France during WWI as well as my great-great-grandpa, James Larrabee, who received the medal of honor during the Civil War. Having this history in my family has made me come to appreciate this country even more. Growing up hearing my grandpa’s endless stories always inspired me to do whatever I could to do my part for The United States of America.
After high school, Martinson plans to attend a four-year university and study material engineering.
Stachlewitz is the daughter of Jennifer Stachlewitz and Rusty Stachlewitz.
Her activities in high school include band (current president), choir, Interact (current president), Student Council (current president), tennis, Madrigal Jester and Drama Club.
Among her list of community and volunteer activities are starting a new sock and used coat drive through Interact called Socktober, attending the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminar and subsequently volunteering for at least 100 hours of community service with the likes of the Midwest Food Bank, the Sweet Corn Festival, summer youth tennis camp, Nightengale’s Thrift Shop, repainting the dugouts at the baseball field, volunteering at the Woodhaven haunted house and Salvation Army bell ringing.
In her free time, Stachlewitz works at Quilting in the Valley in LaSalle, babysitting and anything that has to do with helping and teaching children.
In her essay on the four qualities of a SAR Good Citizen (dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism), she said:
“I accept the things that I cannot change and I change the things that I cannot accept” is a part of the serenity prayer that I find very influential in my life. It’s a quote that everyone can relate to no matter what you believe in or don’t believe in. In my experience, I have learned that to change the thing that I cannot accept I need to be dependable, a leader, and patriotic. One of the things that I cannot accept is the amount of children that are cold every winter due to the fact that they cannot get new coats and socks. So, I started the Socktober coat and sock drive.
After high school, Stachlewitz plans to spend a year or two at IVCC finishing her GEDs and then going to a four-year university to study speech pathology. After getting her master’s degree in speech pathology, she would like to get a job in a children's hospital and help kids.