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Sixteen local students were honored with Milwaukee North Shore Rotary "Service Above Self" awards on Monday.

You’ve probably heard of Rotary International before, more colloquially referred to as Rotary Club. As the oldest service club in existence, Rotary International boasts more than 1.2 million members worldwide, who band together in service for others at the local, national and international levels. Milwaukee’s North Shore Rotary branch presented their annual Service Above Self awards Monday to sixteen local high school students who best exemplify their unifying tenets of goodwill and community participation.

The students honored at Monday’s luncheon, all juniors from one of eight North Shore high schools, were inspiring to say the least. School representatives — superintendents, counselors and principals — presented their respective students before the crowd, listing their many accomplishments and contributions to their schools and wider communities. Parents beamed, veteran Rotarians clapped and school reps made many a joke about how their students managed to reconcile such packed schedules with sleep. 

Vincent Lyles speaks at the Milwaukee North Shore Rotary Service Above Self Awards in 2017

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee North Shore Rotary

Kicking off the awards was a keynote address from Vincent P. Lyles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, who joked that his impressive resume was merely a product of his age.

“It just means you’re old,” Lyles said after an almost comically lengthy introduction listing Lyles’ numerous accomplishments. 

But the sixteen honored students, all categorically not old, were also introduced amid laundry lists of good deeds and community volunteer work, many of which also noted impressive athletic or musical involvement and near-perfect GPAs. Many student intros included nods to their bright futures, and if Newton’s First Law of Motion (that an object in motion tends to stay in motion) is to be mapped to one’s career trajectory, Milwaukee’s North Shore has a lot to be excited about in the future — including, perhaps, future Rotary Club Members. In fact, former North Shore Rotary President Mark Goldstein, who used his privileges as immediate past president to offer a few comments about students from his community, fondly recalls winning the Service Above Self award himself when he was in high school.

Students from Shorewood High School presented with the Service Above Self Award in 2017

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee North Shore Rotary

Service Above Self 2017 Winners List

  • Brown Deer High School: Wiktoria Mietkowski and Liam McGuire
  • Dominican High School: Kathleen Branigan and Michael Vecitis
  • Homestead High School: Chelsea Rowe and Robert Baranko
  • Messmer High School: April Carmicheal and Jaylin Taylor
  • Nicolet High School: Maya Ben-Yitschak and Anna McDougall
  • Shorewood High School: Shilei Bell-Lipsey and Katie Eder
  • University School of Milwaukee: Hailey Stephany and James (J.D.) Wood
  • Whitefish Bay High School: Rose O’Neill and Ali Menard
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