These are some of the inspiring, intriguing, accomplished people in the Apple Valley community who earned your clicks during 2011:
senior Michael Sheridan has a rare genetic disease called Hurler's syndrome. Though most Hurler's patients don't live past age 10, Sheridan has thrived through high school, where he loves being the manager of the girls basketball team and the team and student body love him right back.
Though Heather Kampf, an assistant cross country coach at , has had a successful running career throughout high school, college and her professional endeavors, she's looking to advance further by making the 2012 summer Olympic games in London.
physical education teacher George Beran in September was named the state physical education teacher of the year for 2011. Beran has taught at Greenleaf since 1993.
Eastview High School graduate Devin Kelley had her first big television acting part playing a major role in the FOX drama The Chicago Code, which ran for one season through the spring.
The Christiansen family of Apple Valley consists of three generations—grandparents, three of their now adult children and nine of their children—all of whom live within two blocks of each other. To top it off, the nine children all will attend the same three schools as their parents did when they were younger.
Apple Valley High School junior Mitchell Dawson not only was a prolific scorer on the school's boys soccer team this fall, he participates in many other activities—and scored a perfect 36 on the ACT college entrance test he took as a sophomore.
fifth grader Kyle Jackson was born with spastic cerebral palsy, but that doesn't stop him from smiling every day and being the most popular student among classmates. Case in point: They sign up to take turns eating lunch with Kyle at school.
Alisa Palen's son, 10-year-old Avery Whitaker, has Septo-Optic Dysplasia, which has caused him to have autism and no vision. When she heard about the potential of stem cell therapy, she began taking Avery to Mexico, where the practice is legal, for treatment.
Apple Valley has been like a family to Geri and Rod Dirth, who moved to the city in their mid-20s and have taught and coached track and field at Apple Valley High School for 31 years. "Do what you love and love what you do," Geri says.
What were your favorite community stories or personal profiles of 2011?