2023 Friends of the Elkhorn Area School District Award Recipients

Elkhorn Area School District honored 25 individuals and organizations at the 25th annual Friends Awards on January 23 at Elkhorn Area High School. Honorees have dedicated their time to EASD classrooms, our athletic programs, the arts, and our community. 

The Lakeland Players were recognized for their ongoing support of the arts in our schools and community. Not only have they hosted dance recitals and concerts, but EASD students regularly get to participate in theater programs hosted at the Sprague Theatre. 

Ken Reynolds, nominated by Ryan Mittelstaedt and the Elkhorn All-Sports Booster Club, was honored for his years of volunteer service and support of Elkhorn athletics. He donates his time and often his products to our Elkhorn athletes.

Vintage on the Ponds of Delavan was nominated by EASD school social worker Taylor Fettig and Jackson Elementary teacher Shey Zwieg for their years supporting our elementary buildings. For the past three years, Vintage on the Ponds has donated school supplies and backpacks to our elementary schools.  

Recognized for their support in the classroom, be it by reading to students, volunteering as a lunch buddy, speaking to classes, offering professional and academic advice, or helping with special projects were: Cary Scott, Bonnie Markgraf, John and Jennifer Vanderstappen, Kelly Guthrie, Bryan and Dawn Mann, David Gee, Peggy Campfield, Annason Wissell, Judy Nelson, Nancy Hinson, and Emily Moorfield. In addition, Debbie Bednarek, Martha Luna, and Jennifer Sharp were specially recognized for their support of the Jackson Elementary book fair. 

Duesterbeck’s Brewing Company was nominated by the Elkhorn Autism Support Team (EAST) for their generous contributions to EAST year after year. The Elkhorn Resiliency Coalition nominated The Columbiettes for a Friends award in recognition of their long-time support of the Snack in a Pack program, which provides weekend meals for EASD elementary students and their families (recently expanded to middle school families). Also recognized by the Elkhorn Resiliency Coalition was the Elkhorn Recreation Department and its director Karl Sorvick. The Elkhorn Rec has been a great friend to the district, often collaborating on programming and coordinating No School Adventure Days for our students. 

EASD Community Engagement nominated Elkhorn American Legion Post 45 and Leibsle Services for their commitment to our school community. Legion Post 45 and its members regularly post colors for events such as football, soccer, baseball, and basketball games. In addition, they participate in Veteran’s Day ceremonies at our schools and award annual scholarships to EASD students. Leibsle Services was instrumental in developing the Nicholas D. Sergi Nature and Fitness Trail, located off East Market Street. The trail is open for school and community use. 

Tibbets Elementary wished to recognize the Lauderdale LaGrange Fire Department’s generosity toward the school community. They have opened their doors for countless field trips and regularly participate in Tibbets family events. EASD Project Lead the Way teachers and staff nominated The Ardagh Group and Sean Cosgrove for their support of Project Lead the Way programming in the district. Because of Ardagh, more students are being exposed to careers in engineering at a young age.

Lastly, the EASD Pupil Services department wished to recognize Professional Services Group out of Kenosha for supporting the staff and students of the Elkhorn Area School District. PSG has volunteered its services to our school community, demonstrating genuine care and concern for our district.

Recipients of the Friends award receive a plaque and a piece of original artwork from an Elkhorn student. This year, West Side Elementary students created the awards.