Font: (-) / (+)

Ozzie Guillén Guest Speaker at Champions Banquet

The Park District of Highland Park will celebrate the community’s talented young athletes and their dedicated coaches at the third annual “Champions Banquet.”  Guest speaker will be former Chicago White Sox player and manager, Ozzie Guillén.  The Champions Banquet will take place on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Highland Park Country Club, 1201 Park Avenue West.  Co-presenters of the event are:  Banner Kitchen & Bath Showroom and Robert J. Semrad Foundation.

     The evening will include dinner, program and silent auction. Ticket prices are $40 (youth), $55 (adult) and $400 (table of eight).  The public is invited and proceeds will benefit the Parks Foundation of Highland Park SMILE Grant-in-Aid program which provides recreation grants for local families in need of financial assistance.  For tickets, click here

     “Every year hundreds of Highland Park kids participate in Park District athletics programs to become champions at building their skills and love of the sport as well as

2017 Banquet

learning the value of good sportsmanship.” said Liza McElroy, Executive Director of the Park District of Highland Park.  “The Champions Banquet is a way to celebrate these great young athletes, their families and our dedicated coaches with a memorable evening and to raise funds so kids who are less fortunate can have the same great sports experiences.”

      Former Chicago White Sox player and manager, Ozzie Guillén will be the guest speaker for the event.  Guillén played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for 16 seasons, primarily with the Chicago White Sox, from 1985 to 2000.  In 1985, he received both the American League Rookie of the Year and “The Sporting News” Rookie of the Year awards, becoming only the third rookie shortstop in major league history to win a fielding title.  

     Guillén managed the White Sox from 2004 to 2011 and the Miami Marlins in 2012.  In 2005, he led the White Sox to their first American League pennant since 1959, and their first World Series win since 1917 with a 4-game sweep of the Houston Astros.  Guillen became the first Latino manager in major league history to win a World Series. To date, he remains the only Latino manager ever to do so.

    “We are thrilled to have Ozzie Guillén as the Champions Banquet guest speaker this year,” said Chris Maliszewski, Recreation Manager with the Park District of Highland Park. “Ozzie is respected for his passion, speed, hustle, intensity, and enthusiastic love for the game — all important qualities for young athletes to strive to achieve.”

     Attendees of the banquet will have the opportunity to participate in auctions that will include:

      The Scholarships Mean Involvement in Leisure for Everyone (SMILE) Grant-In-Aid Program has enabled hundreds of families in need of financial assistance access to all recreation programs including summer camps, swimming lessons, sports and fitness programs.  With support from residents and local businesses through donations and a variety of community events, over $100,000 in grants are awarded each year to Park District of Highland Park families through this worthwhile program.