Winners of Sen. McConchie’s essay contest announced, awarded at reception

Lake Zurich Middle School North and Adlai E. Stevenson High School students take grand prizes

Students and teachers of State Senator Dan McConchie’s My Inspirational Teacher Essay Contest were honored and awarded during a special reception held at the 26th District office in Lake Zurich Wednesday evening as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

The contest, which was an effort to recognize outstanding teachers and educators from across the district, asked middle school and high school students to submit an essay on their most appreciated teacher. Wednesday’s event acknowledged those students who participated and honored those who they penned as their most inspirational teacher.

Additionally, of the over 100 essays that were submitted, nine winners were selected and announced—one from each grade and one grand prize winner from each division. The two grand prize winners were awarded a $500 Amazon gift card to be used for educational supplies.

“It was an honor to celebrate and recognize the students of this year’s essay contest and congratulate them on their winning work,” said Sen. McConchie. “It’s encouraging to see so much enthusiasm and eagerness to recognize the amazing teachers that we have in our schools. Teachers inspire our students and make a positive difference in their lives, and this was just a small and fun way that we could acknowledge all that they do.”

Winners of this year’s essay contest are:


  • Sadie Miller (8th Grade), Lake Zurich Middle School North
    • Cheryl Anderson, French Teacher
  • Raquel Hirsch (12th Grade), Adlai E. Stevenson High School
    • Bill Fritz, English Teacher


  • Josie Hansen (6th Grade), Lake Zurich Middle School North
    • Kathryn Flemming, 4th Grade Teacher (Spencer Loomis Elementary)
  • Mia Vietmeier (7th Grade), Algonquin Middle School
    • Deborah Hostetler, Music Teacher
  • Ethan Audette (8th Grade), Highland Middle School
    • Kristen Palic, Language Arts and Literature Teacher
  • Daniel McCoppin (9th Grade), Barrington High School
    • Laura Kaphingst, Science Teacher
  • Megan Streit (10th Grade), Cary-Grove High School
    • Tim Garis, Math Teacher
  • Jadyn Ko (11th Grade), Mundelein High School
    • Elizabeth Willis, English Teacher
  • Tony Smyrnov (12th Grade), Adlai E. Stevenson High School
    • Sheila Edstrom, Science Teacher


Essays were judged by a panel of educational leaders who evaluated the students’ work on persuasiveness, correct spelling and grammar, and adherence to contest instructions. The winning essays are posted on Sen. McConchie’s website and can be found here.

(Government funds were not used for prizes. Amazon gift cards were donated.)

Dan McConchie

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