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Waukegan teen: ‘Volunteering is a social responsibility’

Josue Pasillas learned he had become first Waukegan High School student be named Millennium Scholar by Bill MelindGates Foundation. |

Josue Pasillas learned he had become the first Waukegan High School student to be named a Millennium Scholar by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. | Sun-Times Media file

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Do you know a Lake County student who stands out as an extraordinary youth? We’re looking for students (of any age) who volunteer in their communities, win awards or do something incredible. Send your nominations and include the student’s name, school and accomplishments to:


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Updated: February 1, 2013 6:12AM

Waukegan High School senior Josue Pasillas wanted to bridge the school’s student council with the Waukegan community. That’s why the student-council member created the public relations/marketing chair position — ”... to get the community and students involved working together,” said Pasillas.

He said volunteer work through the student council is his favorite. He tries to volunteer for at least an hour a day, and the 17-year-old was named as Waukegan’s Volunteer of the Month at a Waukegan City Council meeting in October.

“I want to try to get more people in Waukegan involved in their community. Some people are ashamed of living here. I think we should appreciate the positive and try to change the negative. We can do that by volunteering — for me, volunteering is a social responsibility,” said Pasillas.

This school year, he helped with student-council events such as gift-wrapping for the needy, and the Robert McClory Bike Path cleanup. He also volunteers for events in downtown Waukegan, has volunteered with the PADS shelter program, and has been involved with Bulldog Inc., painting the high school with Bulldog colors to bolster student spirit.

“He’s just really driven and really self-motivated. He goes out and finds volunteer opportunities on his own. He’s a great leader for the student council,” said Flor Carter, Waukegan High School student council advisor.

Pasillas doesn’t track how much time he spends volunteering.

“I was thankful for the recognition (from Waukegan), but I don’t think anyone should do volunteer work for recognition. It’s something we should do,” said Pasillas.

He is a Schuler Scholar and National Honor Society member in addition to being on the student council. He recently learned that he was accepted at Pitzer College in California where he will major in political studies.

“I also plan on coming back to Waukegan and being involved in local government,” said Pasillas.

He said he would like to someday run for Waukegan alderman or mayor.

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