By Marsha Shomidie
VP, Pleasant Plains Branch Manager
Long distance runner, Emily Russel, not only strengthens her heart by running but also by dedicating her free time to helping others. Serving as a volunteer at Helping Hands of Pleasant Plains food pantry for more than a year and a half, she not only sorts and organizes food items, she helps families choose their items and helps them to their cars. Helping Hands food pantry is open one Saturday each month. Since she was in 6th grade, she also spends time dancing with students who have Down’s Syndrome at the dance studio she once went to as a student. These are two great examples of why Emily was chosen by the faculty and staff at Pleasant Plains High School for their inaugural September Senior-of-the-Month.
Emily is currently in many activities that include Sangamon CEO, Beta club (2 years), National Honor Society (2 years), student council representative (2 years), senior class secretary, Science club (3 years), Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) team (2 years), and Cardinal ambassador (2 years).
Her love for long distancing running has earned trips to regionals and sectionals as member of the cross country team during her freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior years. Emily placed 7th in conference for cross country her junior year. Serving as a member of the track and field team for four years, the girls track team has won conference three times.
The Senior-of-the-Month Program is sponsored by Illinois National Bank. Monthly winners receive a $50 award. They are also in the running for the $500 Senior-of-the-Year Award also sponsored by INB.