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April 16, 2012 Mary Louise Symon Award Applications Due

2012 Mary Louise Symon Award Applications Are Due April 16,2012

Applications for the 2012 Mary Louise Symon Memorial Community Service Award are now available to graduating high school seniors from River Valley, Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Highland, Iowa-Grant, Barneveld and Pecatonica schools. This $500 award is presented annually by Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin to one or more students who exhibit evidence of high character and motivation to actively participate in shaping their communities in various ways.

The award honors long-time Spring Green resident and life-long community activist Mary Louise Symon who died in late 2009. She was the first woman chair of the Dane County, WI Board of Supervisors and throughout her life remained deeply committed to advancing a broad social agenda that included protecting the environment, preserving farmland and rural regions, making courts more humane, ensuring fair housing and defending social services. Symon was also one of the founders of the Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin, a network of engaged people in southwest Wisconsin who, through constructive dialogue and education, foster informed, positive change in our communities.

Symon was also a strong advocate for the active participation of all citizens in the democratic governing process. This award furthers her commitment to public service by recognizing young men and women whose scholarship, personal character and volunteer service demonstrate a similar commitment to community engagement, public service and the creation of a positive social environment. The award can be used to advance the recipient’s leadership experience by attending college, performing a public service internship involving civic or political action groups, participating in a leadership conference or similar community service-oriented activities.

Last year’s award recipients included River Valley graduating senior Mariah Sujewicz, who recognized that bullying of LGBT individuals is a pressing issue in many schools and communities and partnered with other concerned students to form the Gay Straight Alliance at
River Valley High School. The result has been a decline in harassment at River Valley HS and a stronger safe school climate to counteract bullying of all kinds.

The second recipient was Highland graduating senior Amber Stanek, who recognized that obesity has become a national epidemic. She used the award to help pursue an ambitious double major in Dietetics and International Science and hopes to create a non-profit organization to help maintain good nutrition in third world countries.
Iowa-Grant graduating senior Michaela Marshall was the third 2011 Symon award recipient. Aware of the impact of government funding reductions on rural children in southwest Wisconsin, she stepped up to fill in some of the gaps by tutoring, collecting food, teaching swimming and repairing homes on mission trips.

Symon Award applications, which must be completed and submitted by April 16, are available on the Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin website http://www.grassrootswi.org/mary_louise_symon_award or from school counselors at each of the participating schools. For further information, contact Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin, [email protected] or 608-623-2109.


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