WHEATON – Junior Ella Champagne of St. Francis High School in Glen Ellyn has a lot to do. She is the editor of the yearbook and the student newspaper. She is on the math team, works at Panera Bread, and sits on the board of Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD). On top of all that, Champagne volunteers — a lot — and she loves it, according to a school press release.
This spring, Champagne was recognized by the United Nations Association of the United States and InnerView at the fifth annual National Community Service Impact Awards. According to UNA-USA, champagne has had the most impact for the Sustainable Development Goals, which set out 17 goals for a better world by 2030. The highest level of recognition is 100 hours of service. Champagne completed 160 hours during the 2021-22 school year.
“Giving time to my community is really important,” Champagne said in the statement. “Besides, it’s fun for me.”
She divides her time between two organizations, the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center and the Lombard Historical Society. At the Children’s Resource Center, Champagne teaches academically at-risk students twice a week in math and English and helps them with their summer program. At the historical society, she writes blog posts, scans newspapers, works in the gift shop and delivers books to housebound residents.
“I love working with children and I love history. It’s a good way to pass my time,” she said.
At the Children’s Resource Center, Champagne said she especially enjoys building relationships with the students.
“I work with the same student every day, so our relationship is very close,” she said. “It’s been really nice to watch him grow through the school year.”
She said people are often surprised to learn that she also enjoys spending time at the museum.
“If you look from an outside perspective, it seems boring to learn history and go through archives, but I like to know all about local history. It’s not something we learn to school,” she said.
So how does she handle it all?
“My teachers were great and really taught me about time management, and whenever I have free time, I try to get ahead,” she said, realizing that it is also important to rest and recharge.
In her senior year, she will also be an officer of the National Honor Society and looks forward to Kairos.
“I’m looking forward to all the traditions — the dances and the graduation,” she said. “After high school, I want to do journalism or political science.”
She hopes to stay somewhat near Glen Ellyn, where she lives with her brother and parents, Joe and Kathleen Holper Champagne, who also attended St. Francis High School in the class of 1989.