Monday, March 21, 2016 || Originally Published: Cook County Chronicle || By Jean Lotus
Two new college scholarships in Proviso Township will reward public high school students those who’ve shined academically as well as those who’ve improved over their high school careers.
The group 209 Together, affiliated with Proviso Township High School District 209 school board members, announced a $5,000 college scholarship fund for students graduating from District 209.
College costs can be overwhelming in low-income school districts, even for students who get accepted at prestigious universities. For example, Proviso Math and Science Academy senior and three-sport athlete Marquan Jones, of Maywood, was accepted into Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ithaca, N.Y.
“It has always been Marquan’s dream to attend Cornell University. However, due to the cost of tuition and other expenses, he may not be able to attend,” his mother Chanicka Jones wrote on an Internet fundraising site.
The new scholarships will allow community members to donate to the success of high school students, said Connie Brown, a business owner in Forest Park.
“Investing in our children’s continued education is the most significant way to grow and strengthen our communities,” Brown said in a press release. “Imagine if everyone offered just $20 to this scholarship? It would change the fabric of this township,” she said.
Scholarships will be administered by the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park Foundation, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization. Tax-deductible contributions are being accepted through a Fundly website here.
“Quality public education is the greatest change agent for the common good in American history,” said Forest Park Kiwanis Foundation Secretary Jerry Lordan, who also teaches history at Fenwick High School, a private Catholic school in Oak Park.
The Overcoming Adversity scholarship will go to students who improve over their high-school career, while the Persistence Pays award will reward students who have kept their grades high throughout high school. Two scholarships will be awarded to graduates of Proviso East, Proviso West and Proviso Math and Science Academy.
Students are required to submit an application, transcript, essay and letters of recommendation. The deadline is April 7. To receive a copy of the application, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Another scholarship available to Proviso East students who will be seniors next year is the Common Roots Initiative scholarship, which awards $1,000 per year to one PEHS student and one teacher. Not-for-profit CRI was founded by Proviso East alumni and has awarded scholarships since 2012.
“We want to make an impact on both sides of the desk,” said 1995 PEHS graduate and founder Soumya Rao, who grew up in Forest Park. CRI’s deadlines are in January. Find more information here. VFP