For the second straight year in its three-year existence, Stevenson High School’s Best Buddies club has been named Outstanding High School Chapter of the Year by Best Buddies International. There are 665 high school chapters in 23 states, including 46 chapters in Illinois.
At the high school level, Best Buddies pairs students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and students without disabilities in one-to-one friendships. Students get together once a week, and the club sponsors one or two group outings per month.
In his letter of recommendation, SHS Student Activities Director Ted Goergen wrote: "As the Student Activities Director, I oversee over 100 clubs and teach a course designed for the top leaders in our school; therefore, I see groups on a daily basis conducting authentic leadership and service, none however are as exceptional as the Best Buddies Program."
Last year, the club had 47 students on its roster. There were 15 group outings during the school year, and more than 40 students participated in half of those.
Stevenson’s Best Buddies sponsors are Sara Lohrmann and Rebecca Patchak. The club president last year was Emily Mitchell (Class of 2009), whom Illinois Best Buddies official Stephanie Lerner called "by far the strongest Chapter President I have encountered." The rest of the club’s executive board included Chailey Salazar, Maura O’Connor, Riley Newsome and Susan Bender.