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AnnMarie Integrity Award Presented to D135 Students

AnnMarie Integrity Award Presented to D135 Students

The AnnMarie Integrity Award was first awarded several years ago to D135 students who demonstrated outstanding kindness, loyalty, and friendship among their peers.  The purpose of the award is to honor the memory of AnnMarie Blaha, a Meadow Ridge student who tragically lost her life on June 10, 2013.  A key component of the award criteria includes the student’s ability and willingness to reach out to adults when issues arise with friends or themselves.  By promoting kindness and openness across the school community, the AnnMarie Foundation hopes to spread awareness and prevent such an incident from happening to others.  


Eight finalists are chosen from teacher and staff nominations, and recipients are chosen based on those submissions.  Two students are selected as the top nominees, one from the junior high level and one from the intermediate level, and they are awarded a $500 grant from the foundation.  


This year’s junior high recipient, Ahlam Abdelrahaman Yasin of Jerling Jr. High, was nominated by several of her teachers, who had this to say about her: “She goes above and beyond to include others in group activities in and out of the classroom.  She takes the extra step to help her peers understand and prepare for lessons.”  Ahlam was surprised by teachers, building administration, and her parents, who were beaming with pride as Foundation representatives read the criteria of the award.  


The 2017 intermediate recipient was Klaudia Sieczka.  Her nominating teachers said, “She is an excellent friend and role model for other students.  She is a courageous young lady, and will always reach out for help if the need arises.”   That kindness and love was made ever more apparent by the outpouring of love from Klaudia’s friends upon hearing of the news she was selected for the award.  As she posed for a photo with representatives from the Foundation and her teachers, her friends ran to the front of the cafeteria, offering hugs and high-fives for nearly five minutes!


Runners-up included Avery Bartley, a Century 6th grader, and Kiera Fitzgerald and Gabriella Virgen, Meadow Ridge 5th grade students, who received an honorable mention and $100 from the Foundation.


District 135 intermediate and junior high students are eligible for nomination by their teachers at the end of each school year.  Teachers and staff complete a written nomination form, outlining why that student meets the criteria of the award.  For more information on the award, and for information on the Ann Marie Foundation and suicide prevention, visit

Ahlam poses behind her foundation check with paretns  Klaudia and teacher Mrs. Callis talking after the award presentation