Service Above Self Awards
 
 
Sun Prairie Rotary initiated the Sun Prairie's Service Above Self Awards in 2001.  Criteria utilizes Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self and the Four Way Test.  Rotary’s motto, Service above Self exemplifies the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s members.  Strong fellowship among Rotarians and meaningful community and international service projects characterize Rotary worldwide.  Rotarian’s nominate individuals in the community who exemplify the principles. The last few years we have nominated one high school student. 
 

2017 Winners

From Left to Right:  Mark Olsen, President of Sun Prairie Rotary,  Winners:  Patrick Ross, Lisa Wilkins, Aditya Sharma (Student), Wendy Harris.  Photo courtesy of Meghan Chua, The Star.

 

2017 SUN PRAIRIE ROTARY

SERVICE ABOVE SELF AWARD WINNERS

 

WENDY HARRIS

PATRICK ROSS

LISA WILKINS

ADITYA SHARMA

 

 

Wendy Harris (Retired School Teacher – Sun Prairie High School)

Nominated by: Toni Pabon
 
Wendy moved to Sun Prairie in 1991 and joined the Sun Prairie High School staff as a math teacher until her retirement in 2013.  During that time, she served as a teacher, curriculum leader, and was mathematics department coordinator for four years. She was also the union secretary and treasurer. 
 
In 1998, Wendy helped start the first Trig-Star program in the state of Wisconsin (math program organized by land surveyors with the goal of showing how trigonometry is applied in the real world).
 
Wendy welcomed the program and helped set up the state surveyor’s association.  The program grew from one school to 16 schools exposing on average more than 500 students to the test.  Sun Prairie High School has had four state winners and one national placement.  Without Wendy’s willingness to take on the extra work, this program would never have been successful. Wendy and her husband Mike were foster parents for a year. They hosted an AFS student from Indonesia for a semester. Wendy was an AFS student for a year in Austria when she was in high school. She speaks German and helped the Sun Prairie High School exchange program with their partner school in Friesack, Germany. She hosted teachers from Germany five times.
 
Wendy has traveled a lot...to Germany, Rumania, Iceland as well as in the United States.
 
She has a daughter, two stepsons and 3 grandchildren.
 
Wendy has been a tremendous help on The Rotary Youth Exchange program this year.  She and her husband Mike, were Jade’s (France) 2nd host family.  They took her in and gave her a great home environment.  They hosted Jade one month longer than normal because we were still looking for Jade’s 3rd family.  Wendy was the person to seek and find Jade’s 3rd family for us.  Without her help, Jade would not have 3 different host families this year.
 
We appreciate her and her support of Rotary Youth Exchange in Sun Prairie.

 

Lisa Wilkins (The Bed Lady)

Nominated by: Andrew Bissonnette
 
Lisa is the “bed lady”. You may not know what that means, but to hundreds of families in Sun Prairie over the past 10 years, that means that Lisa made the effort to bring them free beds for their children who were otherwise sleeping on the floor or a couch. She not only delivers new box spring and mattresses, but also pillows, sheets and lovingly selected comforters or bedspreads, with a floral pattern, for example, for little girls, and maybe a football or Star Wars pattern for boys. This is a project that Lisa invented from scratch after asking the school social worker at West Side School what she might be able to do to help the kids going to school there. The project has been run under the auspices of the Sunshine Place for most of its existence and Lisa has worked out many other partnerships for the funding, storage and delivery of the beds and bedding. For example, she has worked with the Sun Prairie High School baseball team to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the purchase of hundreds of new beds and bedding. On top of everything else, Lisa makes sure that she is part of the delivery team, allowing her many opportunities to throw a big hug in, in addition to the new bed. The kids love her. She is an amazing person, and highly deserving of our Service Above Self award.

 

Pat Ross (Owner of Ross Electric Inc.)

Nominated by: Tom Hebl
 
Pat Ross is a lifelong resident of Sun Prairie. He graduated from Sun Prairie High School in 1979, having played hockey for SPHS and then coaching hockey for many years.
 
Ross has been a member of the Sun Prairie Lions Club for 19 years. Through the Lions Club he was the co-chair for the Sun Prairie Blue Fest for 8 years, volunteered to help with vision screening at a local daycare for more than 10 years, volunteered at the annual bike rodeo at Bird Elementary School and participated in the Highway 51 clean-up in the Spring and Fall for 15 years, and parked cars at the annual Corn Festival for 25 years.  He has also read stories to kindergartners at Westside Elementary and set up and helped with the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Angell Park.
 
For the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce, he has helped with set up for the Corn Festival for 10 years and cooked thousands of pounds of sweet corn. He voluntarily set up the electrical temporaries for Relay for Life and the Groundhog Day Celebration for many years.
 
For the BID Board, he has volunteered with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, Taste of Sun Prairie, the Sun Prairie Block Party, hanging up and judging the scarecrows along Main Street at Halloween, bartending for the annual Wine Walk and setting up Christmas decorations at the Crosse House each December.
 
Ross was the recipient of the Contribution Award from the VFW for donating his time and electrical supplies for the VFW building and Hero=s Park. He has also volunteered in various capacities at the annual VFW Thanksgiving Dinner for the past 13 years.
 
For the past 8 years he has volunteered to drive an official on his motorcycle for the annual Ironman bicycle races in Madison.
 
Pat also donates his time and money to the annual Christmas Party for special needs children.
 
Ross now sits on the Sun Prairie Transit Committee and attends regular meetings. 

High School Student Winner

Aditya Sharma (Student)

Nominated by school counselor: Monica M. Wagner
 
This letter is being written on behalf of Aditya Sharma, a senior student at Sun Prairie High School. I have been Aditya’s school counselor for 3 years and in that time I have found him to be an outstanding young person with drive and commitment. I want to take this opportunity to share a few things about Aditya that might help you understand why he is the perfect candidate for the Service Above Self Recognition.
 
Few high school students come with the entire package. Aditya, however, has it all, plus some. Aditya is smart, ethical and mature. He takes high school very seriously and is well known around campus by both adults and peers. In a sea of 1,750 students, Aditya shines both inside and out. He is a strong student with an even more impressive character. We have many “smart” kids, but he is kindhearted, polite and funny. He not only is a hard worker, but a good person. Some might say that Aditya’s unbelievable talent for the school-life balance is based solely on luck. Others might say he is an enigma. I, however, credit Aditya for being incredibly self-disciplined, morally driven and goal-oriented. In my 13 years as a high school counselor, I have rarely met anyone as driven, motivated or on a straight path to success. As a teenager this is not easy. Being a self-disciplined, he turned away from procrastination, avoidance, skipping, drinking or drugs, when his peers sometimes caved. This is Aditya; this has always been Aditya.
 
Besides his obvious academic achievements, most notable is Aditya’s musical talents. Aditya has been an active participant in SPHS’s music program across the board. He began his journey in band as a 6th grader, playing clarinet and tenor saxophone and has worked his way up to the highest, most prestigious band in our school, Wind Ensemble. Additionally, Aditya has participated in our extracurricular jazz ensembles since 2010. Lastly, he has been a member of our Marching Band (Sound of Sun Prairie) since 2013, devoting his entire summer to music and after graduation plans to participate one last summer. His dedication and commitment to his musical aspirations has definitely paid off, as evidenced by the invitation Jazz I recently received. They have been invited as one of 15 schools in the U.S. to represent our school at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York this May. What a reward for years of hard work!
 
Aditya has also enriched this world with a significant amount of service to his community. Diversifying his volunteer experiences, Aditya has spent over 70 hours working with the Red Cross, registering and monitoring blood donors at a variety of drives. He has assisted elderly patients at the Willows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Sun Prairie with therapeutic recreation and has helped to organize events since December 2014. Additionally, he began volunteering at Truesdell Animal Care in August of 2015 and has been working with animals there ever since. His desire to give back is strong and his demonstration of community kindness is honorable.
 
I could continue to brag about how wonderful Aditya is, referencing his incredible ACT score, the number of AP courses on his transcript, athletic ability, or his extracurricular accomplishments, but you are most likely well educated on these things. All I can tell you that I am 110% confident that he is ready for the challenge of a competitive university and will most certainly thrive in his environment. Hoping to specialize in Interventional Radiology one day, we will certainly be seeing great things from this young man.
 
It is for these reasons that I offer high recommendations for Aditya Sharma without reservation.