Awards Showcase School Success

Awards Showcase School Success

The end of the school year gave us the chance to celebrate our young people’s academic and professional accomplishments over the past year. While our annual Graduates’ Luncheon focuses on those in residential, Community Care, and Friends First mentoring programs who have earned a diploma or degree, our Education and Career Resources (ECR) Awards bring coworkers together to recognize the achievements of young people at every age while encouraging them to continue working hard toward their goals.  

The awards were held over two nights, one on each of our two campuses. This year’s event at our West Loop Campus featured a tie-dye theme to represent our young people’s creative expression. 

“[A tie-dye shirt] comes together to create a vibrant image that is solely unique and that is you,” said Sergio Rodriguez, Director of Education at Mercy Home. “We have seen this process unfold throughout this year in each of [our kids] as [they] grow from each of [their] experiences.” 

A young man holds up the two awards he received for his hard work during the school year.

As they entered our indoor soccer facility where the awards were staged, participants passed through a phalanx of cheering coworkers and a mist of floating bubbles, courtesy of a bubble machine.  

Fr. Scott congratulated our young people to start the program.  

“Each and every one of you should feel very, very proud of yourselves,” he said. “Thank you for a successful school year.” 

One by one, our Education and Career Resources coworkers passed out honors such as the Rising Star Award, Middle School & High School After School Program Star of the Year, and more. 

Participants were excited to receive goodie bags containing sunglasses, sandals, and snacks—the perfect starter kit to enjoy some summer fun in the weeks to come.  

Our Walsh Campus employed a butterfly theme to celebrate this year’s awards. The motif was a nod to the butterfly sanctuary that recently opened on the campus. 

A young woman celebrates her academic award.

“In some cultures, the butterfly represents transformation, rebirth, migration, and change,” said Rebecca Bowlin, Senior Coordinator of the Craft Cottage. “This past school year many of our youth also worked through difficult changes and transformations and came out soaring on the other side.” 

The event saw young people receiving awards like the Difference Maker Award, Leader of the Pack, All-Star Student, and their newest honor, All-Star Applicant, which is given to a young person who has displayed patience and perseverance while looking for a job. 

“[The ECR Awards] shows them that we appreciate them, we see their growth, and it’s very visible to us,” said Gloria Aguilera, Tutoring and After School Programs Coordinator. “It’s celebrating their wins and their hard work throughout the school year.” 

After the awards, participants enjoyed a dinner of kabobs and tasty desserts. Afterward, youth danced and socialized with their peers and coworkers. 

The annual ECR Awards offer us an excellent opportunity to celebrate all of our young people. 

“[It’s great] seeing how far the youth have come and acknowledging them for their hard work and perseverance,” Rodriguez said. 

We are truly thankful to the Education and Career Resources Department for their dedication and commitment to our young people throughout the year, and we look forward to more great news throughout the summer and school year to come. 

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