Schaumburg High School Athlete Caroline Kurdej Surprised At School With $20,000 Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Award


Caroline Kurdej, a SHS senior and cross country and track athlete, was one of 20 total students in the country to receive the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Award.

When a Schaumburg High School athlete thought she was called to the office to sign NCAA paperwork for her upcoming semester at DePaul University, she was greeted with a much bigger surprise.

Caroline Kurdej, a SHS senior and cross country and track athlete, was one of 20 total students in the country to receive the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Award.  Representatives from Foot Locker surprised her on April 27 and awarded her $20,000 for her athletic and academic achievements. Team members, classmates, SHS staff, and family cheered her on as she accepted her scholarship.

“The application started with an online form and after I submitted all of my documents, I was notified that I made it to the Skype interview,” Caroline said. “I was honored to even make it that far because there are so many athletes that applied for this. I was notified two weeks ago that I was a semi-finalist, and I just found out I was a recipient today.”

In the fall, Caroline will be on the cross country and track team at DePaul University. The scholarship will be awarded in four equal annual payments of $5,000 throughout the winner’s four-year college career.


Caroline Kurdej is cheered on by classmates and high fives SHS Athletic Director Tim Kirby just as she learns she received a $20,000 scholarship from Foot Locker.

“I am incredibly excited about my teammates,” she said. “I had an opportunity to have an overnight stay with them and everyone is very kind. It will be an incredible environment where I can prosper, grow, and continue to evolve as both an individual student and athlete. I am so excited.

According the Foot Locker’s website, the eligibility and judging criteria for the scholarship is as follows:

  • Be entering college in the Fall of 2015 as a Freshman at a four-year school for an undergraduate degree.
  • Be currently involved in high school sports, intramural sports, or community based sports.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident currently residing at the time of application in one of the 50 United States or District of Columbia (you will be asked to prove citizenship and age if you win).
  • Not be an employee, officer or director of Foot Locker, Inc., or any of its subsidiaries, or a member of the immediate family of such an employee, officer or director.
  • Embody good sportsmanship and strong moral character. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes are trusted and respected members of their schools and communities and have built long-term relationships with other students, administrators and community members.
  • Caroline_Kurdej_full postedit_1

    Caroline learned she received the scholarship at school. She was greeted by classmates, staff members, her family, and representatives from Foot Locker to celebrate her accomplishment.

    Be passionate and committed to empowering the community in which he/she live. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes have made a significant long-term commitment to improving the lives of others.

  • Be confident and enthusiastic about being a leader. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes aren’t reluctant role models. They are confident, honest, and passionate leaders who take on challenges for the greater good.
  • Display academic excellence. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes are intellectually curious, set high academic goals for themselves, and excel in their studies.
  • Be Diverse. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes have diverse backgrounds, are from different places, have varied academic ambitions, and play different sports.
  • Be Foot Locker Scholar Athletes material. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes share key attributes:
  • Proactive and highly motivated
  • Inspiring and charismatic
  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Genuine
  • Strong and Courageous