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Believe & Achieve Banquet and Awards

On May 15, SEASPAR staff, volunteers, participants, families, and community partners came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the annual Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet. Nearly 250 people attended the event at the Sheraton Lisle Naperville.

One highlight of the banquet is the presentation of awards to participants, staff, volunteers, and community partners. Please join us in congratulating the following award winners!

Athlete of the Year – Melissa Engelhardt

Melissa is a long-time participant in SEASPAR’s Special Olympics Volleyball and Swimming programs. As a core server on the Spartans Volleyball team and a fixture in 50-meter freestyle and backstroke Swimming events, Melissa is not only a talented athlete but also an outstanding team player. She amplifies the environment and those around her with her unwavering warmth and positivity! Watch Melissa’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Cultural Artist of the Year – Jonathan Shoup

Jonathan has been active in SEASPAR’s Actors Guild program for nearly a decade. During that time, he has played numerous roles in the plays and musicals that the program produces, most recently Prince Phillip in an adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty” that the group performed in May 2019. Jonathan is known to be witty, inventive, and respectful and encouraging toward his fellow actors in the program, regardless of their abilities! Watch Jonathan’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Rising Star Award – T.J. Postmus

At fourteen years old, T.J. has been participating in SEASPAR programs nearly his entire life. His favorite activities involve fitness and swimming. T.J. has progressed in his swim lessons to enter SEASPAR’s Special Olympics Developmental Swimming program, competing at practices and tournaments around northern Illinois. He uses assistive technology to verbalize, but he is most known around SEASPAR for having a smile that speaks volumes! Watch T.J.’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Shining Star Award – Emilie Donaldson

The brand new Shining Star Award for an outstanding adult participant went to Emilie Donaldson! Emilie participates in countless SEASPAR programs, from the EAGLES Adult Day Program and Social Club to weekly programs and special events. She uses a wheelchair but never lets it stop her from cutting a rug at SEASPAR dances. Considered a friend to all, Emilie is well known among staff and participants for her fun-loving attitude, kind words, and warm smiles! Watch Emilie’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Leading Light Award (Part-time Staff) – Courtney Schmitt

Courtney has been working for SEASPAR since 2015, and in a short time, it was apparent that she had found her place working with youth with disabilities. As a Program Supervisor, she leads with kindness, and her strong work ethic and great attitude consistently impress participants, families, and fellow staff alike! Watch Courtney’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Super Star Award (Part-time Staff) – Mindy Jack

Mindy has been a devoted SEASPAR employee since 2006, staffing weekly programs, special events, and SEASPAR’s Drop In Center. Mindy is an enthusiastic and selfless advocate for people with disabilities in all aspects of her life, and SEASPAR is lucky to have her as a Program Supervisor! Watch Mindy’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Naberhaus Volunteer of the Year Award – Jim and Roxane Pappa

This husband and wife team began volunteering with us in 2017, staffing dances and bowling programs. Roxane brings years of experience working with people with disabilities, and Jim brings bowling expertise as well as great dance moves. They are dedicated and caring volunteers, believe that our participants can achieve anything, and are right there cheering them on! Watch Jim and Roxane’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Community Partner of the Year – Benet Academy

Benet Academy is a Benedictine college preparatory high school in Lisle whose mission is to provide a disciplined educational environment that fosters the ongoing religious, intellectual and social development of its students. Benet Academy has provided a variety of resources to SEASPAR over many, many years, including hosting two of SEASPAR’s most popular adult events – the Boo Bash for Halloween and the Fun Fair in the winter. Not only does the school donate for expenses like a DJ and giveaways, but the students themselves provide a fun, welcoming, and inclusive environment for SEASPAR participants to enjoy! Watch Benet Academy’s award presentation on YouTube below!

Another highlight of the Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet is the video presentation that shares the experiences of participants through photos and videos taken at programs and events. Watch this year’s video, entitled “Spread Your Wings at SEASPAR” on YouTube below!

View photos from the event on Flickr below!

Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet 2019