For the fourth consecutive year, the Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF), a networking group of the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce, offered a scholarship program to young women in the Palatine community. The WIBAF Scholarship Committee had planned to award two $1,000 scholarships, but due to successful fundraising in 2017, three scholarships were awarded in May 2018 to senior female students at Palatine and Fremd High Schools. This year’s recipients are Megan Dowd, Brittany Padden, and Katherine Wu. The WIBAF scholarship provides non-renewable awards to be used for college tuition, fees, books, or supplies. To be eligible for the application process, female students must have had a 2.75 GPA or better, with the intent of attending a 2-year or 4-year college or university in Fall 2018 to pursue a degree in a business-related field. Other criteria considered by the scholarship judges included business coursework in high school, employment experience, clubs/activities/service/volunteer roles, three short response questions, and two letters of recommendation.

Megan Dowd from Palatine High School will be attending Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and is still deciding on the specific area of business she would like to pursue: finance, economic consulting, management, or entrepreneurship. Megan has worked for several local businesses during her high school years including Palatine Park District and Gianni’s Cafe, while also maintaining involvement in a variety of activities including Business Professionals of America, National Honors Society, Best Buddies, Peer Mediation, Women in Business, Soccer, and more. In her essay regarding how she has changed during her four years of high school, Megan wrote, “I have learned that life is better when you use your voice.”



Brittany Padden from Palatine High School will be attending the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University where she will be studying Accounting/Finance. Brittany also worked for Gianni’s and has served as an election judge while staying involved at school with organizations such as Cheerleading, Softball, Business Professionals of America, National Honors Society, National Business Honors Society. Foreign Language Honors Society, NIU Business Olympics, and serving as a class board member. In her essay response about an influential woman in her life, Brittany wrote, “I have always admired my Grandma and believe my independence, drive, and desire to be an influential woman stems from my Grandma Betty. I am so thankful for her every day.”


Katherine Wu from Fremd High School will be attending The University of Texas at majoring in Finance within the Business Honors Program. Katherine held two internships, in investment and real estate, during her high school years. She was also involved with activities at Fremd High School including Business Professionals of America, the Junior Economic Club of Chicago, and National Honor Society. Katherine also plays piano and is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance and has been involved in several volunteer and ministry programs. In Katherine’s essay about an influential woman in her life, she wrote about her church small group leader, saying, “she saw in me qualities I did not see in myself and it was her confidence that showed me how to live faithfully, courageously, and kindly.”


This year’s scholarship committee included WIBAF members Joan Scovic from Palatine Park District (committee chair), Alissa DePue from Palatine Park District, Deb Gabriel with Edward Jones, Maureen Galvan of Palatine Library, and Alex Looff with Signs By Tomorrow – Arlington Heights. Funds for the 2017-2018 scholarship program were raised through a fashion show fundraiser and raffle prize drawings offered at WIBAF’s monthly networking luncheons during 2017.

WIBAF is an active group of business women who are interested in learning and networking with one another while discussing business related topics. Meetings are held once a month, on the second Tuesday of each month from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Meetings include featured member presentations and organized presentations of business topics, along with time for networking with other members in attendance. In addition, members also have an opportunity to periodically profile their business in a 5-10 minute presentation. The fee for WIBAF luncheon networking meetings is $15 per person. Pre-registration is required and can be completed online each month at www.palatinechamber.com. Registration is requested no later than the Friday morning prior to the meeting. Registration after noon on Friday and up to Monday at noon will be $17 per person. Please contact Katie Forsythe at 847-776-4500, katieAForsythe@yahoo.com, Kate Johnson at 847-991-1112 x234, kjohnson@ptscc.org, or Alex Looff at 847-255-0123, arlingtonheights@signsbytomorrow.com for more information.

D211 Post: 5 District 211 Students Receive National Merit Scholarships

           Five students from throughout Township High School District 211 were among the nearly 1,000 students nation wide who received the corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship.  The announcement came as part of the first list of the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarships which was published April 18.

          This year’s recipients are:

          Kashif Javid, a senior at William Fremd High School who was selected to receive the National Merit Motorola            Scholarship.  Javid is considering pursuing a career in medicine following college.


          Anna Miller, a senior at William Fremd High School who was selected to receive the National Merit Siemens              Scholarship.  Miller is interested in pursuing a field of study in electrical engineering.


Bhargav Yadavalli, a senior at Palatine High School who was selected to receive the National Merritt Northrup Grumman Scholarship.  Yadavalli wants to pursue a career in computer science following his college education.


          Annika Lafyatis, a senior at James B. Conant High School who was selected to receive the National Merit Citizen Watch scholarship.  Lafyatis will also be pursuing computer science in college and beyond.


          Bianca Saputra, a senior at James B. Conant High School who was selected to receive the National Merit Abbvie Inc. Scholarship.  Saputra plans to study economics during her collegiate career.  


         Funding for these National Merit Scholarships is provided by the corporate organizations that represent nearly all sectors of American industry.  Sponsors from the business community have underwritten awards offered in all 63 competitions, expanding or committing more than $789 million to support the intellectual development of the nation’s scholastically talented youth.


D211 Post:D211 Foundation Offers Multiple Scholarships

             The Township High School District 211 Foundation currently has more than 40 scholarships available to graduating seniors.  These scholarships total nearly $64,000 available to assist graduates in their college endeavors. 

            “College is a large expense for families and we have many generous donors that are passionate about giving back to the community and honoring loved ones through scholarships,” said foundation member Kris Bratkiv.

            Bratkiv said that while most scholarships have an application deadline of March 16, students are encouraged to review each opportunity.  Though some scholarships are available district wide, many are school specific. 

            To review all scholarships, visit the foundation’s scholarship page by clicking here or going to www.d211 foundation.org/scholarships.  

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


Excel Beyond 211 Scholarship Program Seeks Help for College Ready Students

Excel-Beyond-211_C_POSTDistrict 211 has a large population of academically talented students from first-generation, or low-income families. These students are college ready and looking for ways to increase their college successes and completions. However, many of these students are the first in their families to go to college, and finances are often the only issue standing in their way.

To help these students, the scholarship program Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholars helps selected District 211 graduates in their efforts to become successful college students. Excel Beyond 211 is an all-volunteer program, with a Board of Directors consisting of community members, and is operated entirely from donations.

“Community members can invest in the students they have helped educate for four years so they can continue their education in college,” said Nancy Robb, former District 211 superintendent. “The majority of our Excel Beyond students have two jobs because of their financial needs, and are taking a full college academic load of courses. What we’re finding is that paying for tuition, books, or simply daily living expenses is very difficult for these students.”

Students may apply for an Excel Beyond scholarship during their senior year, and must have demonstrated their commitment to their education through their participation in Project Excel and other college readiness programs. Students must also maintain a 2.5 or higher grade point average, as well as completed at least one advanced level course in high school.

Seniors accepted into Excel Beyond 211 will achieve a college graduation rate of 85 percent, which compares to the 7 percent national average for low-income students. These students will work on a one-to-one basis with adult mentors they can go to for support and advice, or share important news. This program will help students realize the opportunities available to them for their future, expand their horizons, and demonstrate a commitment to earning a degree from a college or university.

“This program is new, and we need assistance from the community to continue helping these students,” Robb said. “One hundred percent of each donation will go directly to students from their particular school. If a community member or teacher from Palatine High School contributes, their donation will go towards a Palatine High School graduate.”

Excel Beyond 211 is an affiliate of Scholarship America, which is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. For those interested in making a donation, please visit the Excel Beyond 211 website here, and click on the donate button. If you are a District 211 employee, you have the option to donate to Excel Beyond 211 as a write-in charity during the annual Combined Charities Campaign, which runs Nov. 17 through Nov. 21.

District 211 Students: Watch for Upcoming District 211 Scholarship Opportunities

D211F LOGO-2While students are preparing for life after high school, several are planning to further their education by attending college or a trade school. However, one of the most stressful parts of planning for collegiate life is figuring out how to pay for college tuition.

The District 211 Foundation offers scholarship opportunities to its students during their senior year. Only District 211 seniors can apply for the scholarships, and the awards range in award amount, as well as eligibility requirements.

An independent party, or donor, creates each scholarship. Some are in memoriam of District 211 students, teachers, or alumni who have passed away and others have been based on athletics or community service in conjunction with academic excellence or what high school they attend.

Students are encouraged to apply and are reminded that these scholarship opportunities are only for students within District 211, and even smaller scholarships can help ease the tuition burden in college.

Available scholarships will be posted toward the end of January. Once available, students should check the District 211 Foundation website. There, scholarship requirements can be reviewed and students can download an application. Students can also check with counselors to find out more about these opportunities.

Six District 211 Students Named 2013 Golden Apple Scholars

District 211's 2013 Golden Apple Scholars. From left to right: (bottom row) Marco Arreola, Fatima Cisneros, and Elise Guerro. (Top Row) Timothy Coukart, Tiffany Guerro, and Karyn Baldwin.

District 211’s 2013 Golden Apple Scholars. From left to right: (bottom row) Marco Arreola, Fatima Cisneros, and Elise Guerro. (Top Row) Timothy Coukart, Tiffany Guerro, and Karyn Baldwin.

Many high school students have a drive and passion to become educators and work toward the prestigious goal of becoming a Golden Apple Scholar. District 211 has six students who are on their way to becoming future educators.

Students Marco Arreola, Elise Guerro, and Tiffany Guerro from Palatine High School, Karyn Baldwin from Schaumburg High School, and Fatima Cisneros and Timothy Coukart from Hoffman Estates High School were selected as part of 135 Golden Apple Scholars for the Illinois Class of 2013. Each student was recognized for his/her accomplishments by the Board of Education at its May 2 meeting.

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois is a competitive program that seeks the best Illinois youth interested in a teaching career. Those selected receive advanced teacher preparation through four summer institutes that give them early practice and exposure to the art of teaching, as well as financial assistance for college. For freshman and sophomore year of college, students receive a $2,500 scholarship toward tuition per year. Junior and senior year they will receive $5,000 per year.

There are restrictions in order to maintain the scholarship. Golden Apple Scholars must earn a bachelor’s degree at one of 53 Illinois universities that participate in the program, obtain Illinois teacher certification, and teach for five years in an Illinois school of need. Scholars also must meet G.P.A. requirements, participate in Summer Institutes, and comply with a code of conduct while in the program. As long as they maintain those requirements, they will receive tuition assistance. They also receive a $2,000 stipend for each summer institute they attend.

Arreola, who plans on pursuing a career in secondary education with a concentration in Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL), said he is most excited about the program’s summer sessions and starting a fun career where he can help students. His sister, Palatine High School alumna Lizbeth Arreola, was a 2012 Golden Apple Scholar.

“I didn’t speak English when I started school, and I had a lot of teachers who helped me a lot, and helped me get into college,” Arreola said. “I want to be able to do that for students someday.”

Another family also has two Golden Apple Scholars to be proud of. Elise Guerro, who will be studying secondary education and English at the Illinois State University, said she is excited that she can share this experience with her sister, Tiffany. She said this opportunity has opened many doors for her and her sister.

“It’s wonderful that we both got the award because she deserves it and I worked very hard for it too,” Elise said. “I never thought I would get such a big scholarship. I was pushed by certain teachers to apply, but I never realized it could actually happen to me. You picture your life as ordinary until something big happens and you realize it can really happen to you, too.”

Applications are open for next year’s Golden Apple Scholars Award. For more information about the Golden Apple Foundation, visit its website here. Read more about all of the 2013 Golden Apple Scholars here.