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

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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.

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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.
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    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.




Palatine High School’s Pirate Booster Club to hold 29th Annual Dinner and Auction Fundraiser

Members of the Palatine community will have a chance to enjoy a dinner with live entertainment, while at the same time helping raise funds for Palatine High School students.

The 29th annual Pirate Boosters Dinner and Auction will take place on Feb. 22 at The Cotillion, 360 Creekside Dr. in Palatine, from 6:30 to 11 p.m. The event is open to adults in the community. It is hosted by the PHS Pirate Boosters to benefit student scholarships, grants, and activities.

“This event brings the community together,” said Susan Mulert, PHS Pirate Booster member and co-chair for the dinner auction. “This isn’t just for sports or a particular group, we try hard to make sure this benefits everyone.”

The theme is “Catch the Pirate Spirit,” and guests will have opportunities to participate in raffles, 50/50, live and silent auctions while they enjoy live entertainment and a DJ. Last year’s event attracted more than 300 people, and Mulert said they are hoping for even more this year.

Ken Mate, comedian and magician to perform at the PHS dinner and auction.

Ken Mate is the comedian and magician to perform at the PHS dinner and auction.

In addition to dinner, there will be hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, door prizes, and live entertainment. The live entertainment is stand-up comedian and magician Ken Mate, and musical entertainment from Entertainment Productions. Items for the live and silent auctions were provided by Booster members and community supporters. One of the largest items available for auction is an Emmy Awards package that includes two tickets to the 65th primetime Emmy Awards Show at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  Other prizes include four VIP tickets and transportation with meet and greet passes to see Bill Cosby at the Chicago Theater, Chicago White Sox tickets, and memorable experiences such as a ride along with a Palatine police officer and more.

In previous years, the dinner and auction have proven to be the largest fundraiser for the PHS Pirate Boosters, and helps provide funds for students. Tickets are $55 per person, or a table of 10 can be purchased for $500. All types of clothing are encouraged, from Pirate gear to formal wear.

For more information or questions, visit the PHS Pirate Boosters website, or email auction@phspirateboosters.com. The reservation deadline is Feb. 19.




D211 Students Report Earned Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarship graphicAs another school year comes to an end, most District 211 graduates are gearing up for the next step in their academic careers. Of those students, many have worked hard at earning scholarship opportunities.

“The scholarships that students receive are important,” said Samantha Dolen, assistant superintendent for student services. “That financial relief from tuition, along with the college credits students can earn in high school through advanced placement and dual-credit coursework, represents a real benefit to students and parents.”

Students at District 211 schools were asked to report academic scholarships they earned. These self-reported numbers by students help give the District an idea of how many students are earning scholarships as well as how much financial assistance students earn.  For the 2011-2012 school year, 616 students district-wide reported earning $21,054,587 in collegiate scholarship opportunities.

“The strengths of our students, the high school experiences they are provided in both the classroom and in extracurricular activities, the writing and presentation skills they develop in their courses are criteria that are considered in their college and scholarship applications,” Dolen said. “The fact that students are garnering so much scholarship aid is evidence that we are assisting students appropriately in their college and scholarship search efforts and preparing them to compete with students nationally to win these awards.  Additionally, it is apparent from the merit awards that colleges feel our students are among the best and brightest attending their institutions.”

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