Dripps-Paulson receives Women of Distinction Award

By on November 2, 2013

KANELAND—Maria Dripps-Paulson is a Sugar Grove resident, executive director of the Kaneland Arts Initiative, and a recent recipient of the Women of Distinction Award, given out by Kane County Magazine

She said she’s not too sure what to make of the distinction award.

“I don’t know how I feel about it,” Dripps-Paulson said with a laugh. “At first I was really overwhelmed. It was, ‘Really, can’t you find anyone else who does more than me? Because I can.’”

It turned out that Dripps-Paulson fit the description of what it took to have this title.

Kane County Magazine recognizes women who have been nominated by community members and are considered role models and leaders in their fields and communities. These chosen women also have to have made a difference in Kane County.

Dripps-Paulson, 41, was nominated by her colleagues and friends who live in the Kaneland area, including Rebecca Hoff, Estrellita Uzarraga and Diane McFarlin.

Last week, Dripps-Paulson and the nine other award-chosen women were honored at a luncheon at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva.

“I was also in awe of the other nine women who were chosen,” Dripps-Paulson said. “People seemed to have everything. All of their ducks in a row. So, it definitely feels good to be recognized.”

She received a tall black trophy with her name etched in it and noting that she has made a difference and is a role model.

Because of Dripps-Paulson’s effort as KAI executive director, the community has had the chance to appreciate art for free during the annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival.

Dripps Paulson had been involved in this festival since its third year. It will celebrate its 15th anniversary on April 13, 2014, at Kaneland High School.

The fest’s inaugural event had a crowd of 205 attendees. Dripps-Paulson said 3,000 attended last year’s event.

Those who attend the Fine Arts Festival can expect to check out professional visual and performing artists. There have been acrylic, pencil and calligraphy work, a glass workshop, in-demand caricature artist drawing self and family pictures, the Chicago Ballet and Illinois Brass Band.

Thanks to Dripps-Paulson, the Kaneland School District students and staff have the opportunity to learn from and work with professional artists through the Artist in Residence Program. This year, the artist coming to town will be Margaret Fox, an opera singer.

Dripps-Paulson also has a hand in the fifth annual Kaneland Community Summer Theatre Program and even directs the pit band.

Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler has referred to Dripps-Paulson as a “tireless volunteer.” In a statement, he noted that she has served on commissions and boards for hospitals and charities.

She also has a full house filled with her husband Tim, son Philip, 10, and triplet daughters Zoe, Naomi and Clara, 6.

Diane McFarlin, assistant principal at Kaneland High School, has glowing words to describe Maria.

“I think service is something that connected all of them,” McFarlin said. “And Maria’s energy has everything to do with serving others. And serving her community, serving the people in Kaneland and the people that are families.”

Maria’s family sure thinks she’s pretty special, too. Tim said that he was not surprised that Maria received the award.

“She’s just amazing,” he said. “She can do everything. Does everything well. She’s supportive and positive and good working with people—one of my weak points.”

Philip has his own list of reasons why his mom is special.

“The fact that, A, she gave birth to me, B, she gave birth to triplets,” Philip said. “C, she is very important in my aspects, her job. And D, I sort of think she’s famous now.”