ST. CHARLES – Crystal Kotvan, a St. Charles North High School senior, received the title of Jank ambassador last June. She is now a cultural representative for the St. Charles area, and – as part of the role – she will travel to France and represent the community.
Kotvan, 17, described the ambassadorship as a positive experience.
“I love it so much … ,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to all of these things to come. And it’s really just added a lot to my life positively. In every aspect, I’ve gained a new leadership position.”
More than 400 applications were received for the Jank ambassador position, said Scott Corbin, owner of #TheJankGuitarStore, which bestows the honor.
The Jank ambassadorship celebrates the artistic diversity and achievements of St. Charles’ young people who contribute to the community’s cultural landscape by broadening local tastes and bringing awareness of the global musical arts community to St. Charles.
Corbin pointed to Kotvan’s stand-out involvement in numerous activities, such as being a violinist for the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, performing with – and helping – her high school’s varsity North Star Drill Team and giving private music lessons.
Corbin said the Jank ambassadorship focuses on consistency.
“It’s a dedication to the community,” Corbin said. “And we felt like she is really the key that we wanted to reward in the youth.”
So far, Kotvan has had a busy schedule as ambassador.
She was part of the Electric Christmas Parade in St. Charles, interviewed Mayor Ray Rogina and posed with the mayor for a photo shoot with her family. She also spoke to the St. Charles City Council to thank it for funding her upcoming trip to France.
Corbin explained that Kotvan will go to Saint-Malo, France, next spring, where she will work with local government representatives and the school system.
He added that Kotvan will learn about the area’s culture and society, what it does for leadership and what it does to give back.
“And she gets to act as a cultural correspondent in the sense that she goes and represents to them what our community is like,” Corbin said. “… At the same time, she learns all about their culture, their history and what their society looks like. And she’s going to bring that back to us as a cultural correspondent and tell us about that.”
During the holidays, Kotvan will help out with a campaign called “Spreading Holiday Cheer.”
She will head to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva and get to know children who are ill. She will also sing a nondenominational carol called “Holiday Cheer” with them.
Corbin called the Jank ambassadorship a “supreme version of community service hours.”
“When she does get in position for a job interview one day … having this on her résumé really speaks a lot about who she is as a person and the potential she has as a professional,” Corbin said.
Meanwhile, Kotvan anticipates introducing area students to her instruments – violins, autoharp, keyboard, saxophone and flute.
She recalled starting to play the piano at age 5, where there would be banging key sounds and some unique notes.
“It wasn’t really considered music at that time,” Kotvan said. “It was mostly just my piano teacher putting up with me ... . Over time, it definitely improved. And everybody has to start from somewhere.”
To learn more about #TheJankGuitarStore,visit www.thejankguitarstore.com.