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Press Release

Making College Dreams a Reality

Ten Outstanding Illinois Charter Public School Seniors Honored With $55,000 in College Scholarships Through the Charter-to-College Scholarship Competition

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --This year, ten outstanding Illinois Charter Public High School seniors from across Illinois are being honored with a total of $55,000 in college scholarships through the Charter-to-College Scholarship Competition.  

The bar was set high to be selected for this honor and all high school applicants met and surpassed the mark. This scholarship opportunity required all students to submit an essay highlighting their experience and accomplishments as a high school student and showcase their goals and plans for the future. Additionally, students were required to submit a creative or visual element to represent their educational path and progression toward their professional goals. This challenged students to think creatively and abstractly about their goals for college and beyond.

The top award winner, Priscilla Agbeo from University of Chicago Charter School – Woodlawn Campus, will receive a $10,000 scholarship and the nine runners- up listed below will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to go toward college tuition and expenses next fall.

  • Briana Blutcher—Southland College Prep Charter High School, Richton Park
  • Charnae Caldwell—Young Women's Leadership Charter School, Chicago
  • Imani Fountain—Southland College Prep Charter High School, Richton Park
  • Angelica Howard—Southern Illinois University Charter High School, East St. Louis
  • Nathan Kallen—Noble Network of Charter Schools Golder College Prep, Chicago
  • Alejandro Mandugano —Noble Network of Charter Schools Golder College Prep, Chicago
  • Manuel Raya—EPIC Academy, Chicago
  • Imani Thornton— Southland College Prep Charter High School, Richton Park
  • Joshlynn Williams—Young Women's Leadership Charter School, Chicago

Charter schools are public schools that play an integral role in ensuring all students have access to the high-quality education they deserve to prepare them for college and life success– no matter their zip code or financial, family, or academic background. Charter schools are tuition-free and open to any student who wishes to attend. In Illinois, nearly 60,000 families have chosen charter public schools for their children. Charter public schools are currently serving 87 percent low-income and 92 percent minority students, who most often reside in historically underserved communities across the state. 

Nationally, President Obama has highlighted education as a driver to improving our country's economy and global standing. His call to action to improve college access and persistence for low-income students is critical because "education is the key for families to build ladders into the middle-class." However, financial aid is often times one of the biggest barriers for low-income students to access and succeed in college. This scholarship, sponsored by David Weinberg, founding board chair of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS), is a way to make college more affordable and allow Illinois students to pursue their college dreams.  

"College is the way to level the playing field by exposing students to a broader world, teaching good study habits and creative thinking," said Mr. Weinberg. "College is an important step toward succeeding in today's society."

Mr. Weinberg is deeply committed to the success of Illinois public school students. In addition to being the founding board chair of INCS, he is also a founding board member of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. He is an accomplished photographer and owner of the gallery, David Weinberg Photography in Chicago, and often mentors  and works with students from across the city through his passion for photography and art.  He is a true education and charter public school champion. He is sponsoring this scholarship as a way to further deepen his commitment to the charter public school students in Illinois and encourage their academic and creative pursuits.

All ten Charter-to-College Scholarship honorees and their achievements will be celebrated at a special awards dinner on April 12 in downtown Chicago. 

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) seeks to improve education by establishing and supporting high-quality charter public schools that transform lives and communities. As the voice of Illinois charter public schools, INCS advocates for legislation on behalf of the charter sector, provides support to strengthen charter public schools, and influences education policy for the benefit of all public school students.

Contact: Jodie Cantrell
312-629-2063 ext. 28

SOURCE Illinois Network of Charter Schools

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