A national program, Character Counts goal is to promote core ethical values through Six Pillars of Character” – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. The recipients of these awards usually recognize someone who is not in the limelight yet whose character impacts the community around them.  Each year the nominations are open to the community and the nominee must reside or work in the District 220 area. Nominees can range from students, coaches & teachers, employees of local businesses, community volunteers, and neighbors, etc. Nominees must show the values of the Six Pillars and be verified by two references.


2019 Character Counts! Award WINNERS

  • Christie Shoemacher – Trustworthiness

  • Kent Hengels – Caring

  • Kate Mills – Responsibility

  • Susan Nightengale-Kudia – Citizenship

  • Carolyne Osterheus – Caring

  • Max Lewis – Caring

  • Shandra Nosal – Respect

  • Joan Pagliai – Caring

  • Sayra Stom – Caring

  • Susan Boberg – Caring


Deeply involved in community affairs, Christie has an extraordinary reputation as a loyal member of various local charities and volunteer organizations such as Barrington Children's Charities, Blessings in a Backpack, and Barrington Youth and Family Services. She is a regular volunteer at Hough Street School and has also served as past president of the Little Angels Christian Preschool board. Over the years Christie has dedicated her time, financial and personal resources, and heart to local charities that support children and families. She fundraised to build a new playground at St. Michaels and arranged to have the old playground donated to an overseas charity. She organized and executed two extremely successful Holly Balls for Barrington Children’s Charities and has volunteered for the auxiliary board of Barrington Youth and Family Services for many years.


Kent runs the youth and adult athletic programs at the Barrington Park District, where he has worked for over a decade, and he exhibits the caring and citizenship character pillars. His love and compassion for the children enrolled in the BPD programs is above and beyond. Every morning, Kent is out in the hallway greeting the kids before they enter the gym or their class and he knows all their names regardless of whether they’re in one of his programs or not. He makes them comfortable when they’re nervous about starting a new class or sport and encourages them. Kent inspires the youth at BPD to become involved in their community and many young people come back to work for the BPD because of the impression that Kent has made on them and the ways in which he motivated them to give back to the community.


Kate is an Adult Services Librarian for the Barrington Area Library and was nominated under the Pillar of Responsibility. Kate has dedicated over 30 years of her life to our community library. She spearheads the local history collection and genealogy resources, where she helps accrue thousands of documents, images, and more from Barrington area organizations as well as training volunteers to digitize the Library’s resources. This is all in an enormous effort to preserve the history of Barrington for current and future generations. Kate has been described by her peers as someone who embodies all of the qualities of a silent leader … trust, respect, empathy and service.


Susan is a KEEP Counselor at Hough and goes above and beyond her job responsibilities with the connections she makes with the students…and parents…of KEEP. In her role as KEEP counselor through the Barrington Park District, she helps build students’ confidence and makes an active effort to know each child. She knows the children as people…and she knows them well. To be able to support children so that they feel loved and welcomed every day, a KEEP counselor must know them on a human level…and Susan truly does. Her impact spreads to the community because although Susan only works at the Hough site of KEEP, her impact can reach hundreds of people because of the number of students, parents, and families who rely on this park district program for before and after school care. She makes leaving your children in the care of someone else more manageable and comforting, and that's something highly valuable in any community.


Carolyne is the adoptive mother of 5 children and has had many children go through foster care at her home where she and her family have cared for them with consistency and love. Carolyne spends much of her time working as a volunteer for Let It Be Us which is an organization dedicated to the adoption and education of children within the Illinois foster care system. Carolyne often speaks at recruitment events for foster parents and also provides mentoring and teaching on how to foster and work thru the challenges. Many people sign up to foster after hearing Carolyne at a recruitment event because she speaks with a stunning amount of reality that inspires people to take on the rewarding challenge of foster care and adoption.


Max Lewis is a seventh grader that was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Aplastic Anemia. To treat this condition he received a bone marrow transplant at the Lurie’s Children’s hospital in Chicago where he stayed for almost 2 months. Max came through all of that and now gives back to others experiencing similar medical journeys. He held a LEGO drive to collect LEGO sets and deliver them to patients in the cancer and blood disorder floor at Lurie Children’s Hospital. He also provides mentoring and support to other families going thru similar medical experiences. 'Max’s Mission’ is an annual blood drive the family holds for blood donations and to promote the importance of the donor registry, urging others to be a donor of bone marrow. Max is always involved at these events helping to educate the public, promote awareness and save lives.


As a special education teacher, Shandra is very nurturing with parents and students alike. Shandra has a proven track record of working through challenging situations and providing viable solutions for families and staff alike. She is a strong mentor and takes the time to guide and support fellow staff. She is heavily involved in Special Olympics and currently serves as the Barrington Special Olympics Athletic Director. Shandra also devotes time to the Individualized Education Program team, providing leadership to the team and ensuring it runs smoothly.


Joan Pagliai is a classroom assistant at Roslyn Road Elementary School. she Is known as the most kind, caring, empathetic and understanding person you will ever meet. She is an asset to the Barrington community in the way she impacts the hearts and minds of all the little ones who walk through the halls of Roslyn Road School. She is VERY good at coming up with creative ways to motivate kids, especially when it seems the cause is hopeless, and at times when even the most patient teacher would question their career choice. Even though her role is behind the scenes, she is on the front line and in the trenches with students, making sure they are as successful as she knows they can be because she believes in them. Her peers have described her as an angel, disguised as a special needs aide, and she deserves to be recognized!


Sayra Stom is the Vice-President and a co-founder of the Jeremy Stom Remembrance Foundation (JSRF), a nonprofit organization established in memory of her two brothers she lost to drug addiction. JSRF’s mission is to help adolescents ages 13-18 to combat addiction by giving under-resourced kids with limited opportunities the chance to attend residential sports camps, music programs or other recreational activities that could enrich their lives. Sayra’s dedication, time and energy to the foundation has raised thousands of dollars to help over 170 teens since the foundation began in 2011. Sayra also often reaches out to the community, speaking to various groups about her experiences and to support other groups with similar missions. It is her hope that she and the foundation can continue to show teens that there is a more to life than drugs and alcohol and to help teens understand the tragic consequences of making one bad decision while also helping families struggling with addiction.


Sue Boberg consistently models the characteristics of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. She has worked at Good Shepard hospital in Barrington for over 30 years. She has a particularly challenging role, as she works in the special care nursery, caring for babies in various conditions post delivery. She has a kindness and calmness about her that puts both babies and their parents at ease- she is excellent at comforting parents in times of stress. The parents easily trust that their babies are safe, and expertly and lovingly cared for. Her coworkers speak very highly of her, stating that she is always “excellent in everything,” but never wants to be noticed or rewarded for her work. She is a role model for all of us in her expertise as well as how she displays her impeccable character.

For testimonials shared at the Character Counts! Awards ceremony, click here!

2019 Nomination Timeline

JAN 23-MARCH 10: Nominations open

MARCH 12 - MARCH 18: Winners notified

APRIL 22: Award Ceremony at Barrington Village Hall

2019 Character Counts Nomination OVERVIEW

Since 2001, the Barrington Junior’s Women’s Club has proudly supported the Character Counts! Program in the Barrington Area. The goal of this program is to recognize outstanding individuals in the Barrington Community.  Each year, it is our mission to highlight those who exemplify the “Six Pillars” of Character:


These awards have been offered to people who are not often in the limelight.  A unique act of kindness, a track record of dedication, a history of responsibility, equitability, thoughtfulness and/or respect may exemplify their character.   Past recipients of the Character Counts! Awards have ranged from students and coaches to owners and employees of local businesses, community volunteers, and friends and neighbors.

All nominees are welcomed and considered; however, to receive an award they must reside or work in District 220 area and have two available references. The Awards Ceremony will be held at the Barrington Village Hall Meeting on Monday, April 22, 2019 (200 S. Hough Street).

All Nominations Are Due by March 5, 2019