Parents honored as NIU’s ‘Best Mom and Dad’

By Jen Bland

The NIU Best Mom and Dad awards have been given to the two parents who have enriched their child’s life as well as the community they live in.

Alvin Gates of Lena, Ill. was crowned “Best NIU Dad” and Mary Ellen Lavery of Geneseo, Ill. was crowned “Best NIU Mom” during halftime of the Oct. 24 football game.

Last month students were asked to submit essays explaining why their mom or dad was the best. These parents were chosen from essays submitted by NIU first-year law student Tara Lavery and junior family social services major Janet Gates.

Lambda Sigma, the sophomore honor society, sponsored the dad award while senior honor society Mortar Board sponsored the mom award.

Mortar Board President Christy Gwozdz said they were looking for something special in the essays.

“The buzzwords we looked for in the essays were devotion, support and understanding of the family and the community,” she said.

Lavery said she wrote her essay about her dad’s involvement in the community and what he does for her personally.

“This summer my boyfriend and I broke up, and one day when I was upset he stayed home from work to comfort me,” Lavery said.

Both winners were presented with plaques, viewed the football game from the sky box, received hotel accommodations and were invited to a university reception dinner with NIU President John La Tourette.

Soon these winners’ names will be immortalized in the Holmes Student Center with permanent plaques which are in the process of being authorized.

“The support we’ve received, especially from the president’s office, has been outstanding,” Gwodz said. “We’re confident this will be a tradition.”