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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Midway will be taking a break over the summer
After reminiscing with fond memories, Class of 2024 graduates in Rockefeller Chapel

Terry Shanks, mentor for a generation, receives service award

Terry+Shanks+was+given+the+Billy+Streeter+Award+for+outstanding+community+service+and+for+his+longstanding+commitment+and+impact+on+students+from+third+grade+to+graduation.
Kaden Moubayed
Terry Shanks was given the Billy Streeter Award for outstanding community service and for his longstanding commitment and impact on students from third grade to graduation.

Update: A previous version of this story, both online and in print, identified George Stackert as a sophomore. He is a junior.

Since 1998, Terry Shanks Sr. has stood watch at his desk in the boys locker room. He has guided a quarter-century of graduating classes from 3rd to 12th grade, being a familiar face and a pillar in the Lab community. Now, Mr. Shanks is being honored for his commitment to students.

This honor, the Billy Streeter Award for outstanding community service, has meant a lot to Mr. Shanks, marking a new start for his family after so many years of hard work, a lifetime achievement recognizing where he came from and all that he has been through. 

Growing up on the South Side, Mr. Shanks still recalls how drug and gang violence infested his neighborhood. He remembers the friends who ended up in jail and died young.

“I think that that was a great gift that [God] gave me and, man, I get overwhelmed when I think about it because, like, I have so many of my friends who didn’t make it,” Mr. Shanks said. “I got some that did, but a lot of them died or, a matter of fact, one of my dearest friends died in jail. My friends would be proud of me.”

Mr. Shanks fosters lasting connections with the students who use the boys locker room, teaching them respect and sportsmanship. He is a constant figure in their lives who they can trust. 

“I don’t want to be no iconic guy. I got that there’s a difference in just being nice to people and treating people with respect,” Mr. Shanks said. “I think that’s it a lot to be interactive, just making people comfortable letting them know that if they need some more, if I can help them, or whatever I could do for them, just let me know.”

Mr. Shanks has been the model of a recipient for the Billy Streeter Award. Junior George Stackert is one of the students who have been impacted by Mr. Shanks since third grade. George feels elated about Mr. Shanks’ efforts being noticed. 

“He’s always been, like, a positive presence in the boys locker room. He’s really fun to talk with,” George said. “He’s a great guy. I think it’s cool that his efforts are being noticed like that. You know, just in the small things, like, helping with lockers and everything to just bigger things to, just being real supportive of me as a person.” 

The Billy Streeter Award is in honor of former Lab custodian Billy Streeter, who made a difference in the lives of Lab students by creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

Whitney Amuchastegui, a development associate for communications and stewardship at Lab, said, “For me, this award truly emulates and embodies the focus Lab places on educating the whole child, and caring for each individual as they are ensuring that they are each seen and appreciated. And that we are all doing this together.”

With all the qualities the award committee looks for when reviewing the many nominations, Mr. Shanks checked all the boxes, from service to impact. Many colleagues nominated him, and the majority of nominations for the award were for Mr. Shanks. 

A multitude of comments were given regarding why he should get the award, but a few highlighted in the award announcement on Aug. 28 talked about his relationships with students, being a role model for students and getting to know every student who passes his post. 

“The relationships that he has developed over his 25 years at Lab continue beyond students’ graduations,” said one nominator. “He keeps in regular contact with alumni, helping them organize games on weekends, and keeping up with their successes in life. He is usually one of the first people that returning college students ask to see when they come back over a break or a long weekend.” 

With this achievement, Mr. Shanks said he and his family will be thankful for the rest of his life.

Community members share how Mr. Shanks has been a big impact at Lab:

“Mr. Shanks is our elder statesmen in the P.E. department, and he brings wisdom and common sense to our daily lives. He’s there as a good support system and a good employee and a good friend. He would always be very helpful and intervene when kids were having conflicts in the locker room. He also had a good relationship with parents. He’s always been a resource of seeing kids in a different light than what we may see in the classroom or on the field.”

–Daniel Dyra, P.E. teacher

“When I first met Mr. Shanks he was very kind and welcoming, and he makes this place feel warm and homey, and it’s kind of like family now. He’s just very thoughtful, and I think that’s what kids see– I think that’s what teachers seeis that he’s not only caring but he even goes a level deeper to just personally know every single person.”

–Josh Potter, P.E. teacher and soccer coach

“Mr. Shanks is the heart and soul of the Lab community. He really just makes my day… In the morning and after school, I always seem him there. He’s always got a smile on his face and he’s always dapping me up. He makes my day better.”

Brayden Kenny, junior

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About the Contributors
Chloe Alexander
Chloe Alexander, Arts Editor
Chloë Alexander is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the arts editor. She joined the journalism family in the 2021-22 school year as a ninth grader and previously served as an assistant editor. Chloë enjoys journalism because it allows her to create a space for Lab students to be represented through writing. Her favorite story that she has written is “‘SOS’ showcases a wide range of styles and themes.” Outside of working on the Midway, she is a Maroon Key, plays the piano and enjoys reading. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, feature writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, news editing, headline and current events 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare O’Connor, Amy Ren and William Tan), superior 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Briefs writing, first place (with Louis Auxenfans, Joaquin Figueroa, Chloe Ma, Amy Ren, Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu), Vol. 98, Issue 8 (March 10, 2022), Page 3
Kaden Moubayed
Kaden Moubayed, Photographer
Kaden Moubayed is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief for photojournalism. He joined the staff in the 2022-23 school year. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking pictures of sports events. Outside of photojournalism, Kaden is a competitive soccer player and enjoys spending time with friends and family. Awards: 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place, single spot news photograph, “2023 Graduation” (Photo 11: Jason & Sydney Tyler embrace) 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Certificate of merit (with William Tan, Patrice Graham, Gabriel Issa, Matthew McGehee, Matt Petres), photo story, "Photo Gallery: Raw reactions" 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, photography portfolio 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Superior, first-year photo

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