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2015 IRTA Foundation Scholarship Winners

The IRTA Foundation is pleased to announce the 2015 IRTA Foundation Scholarship winners. These individuals are promising students with strong academic records and a real desire to teach tomorrow's youth. This year, $1, 500 is being awarded to each of our winners. Thanks to a very generous private donation from one of our members, Areas 4 and 6 are awarding two scholarships in their Area. The eight winners were chosen through competition with other applicants from their own area of the state. Congratulations to the following recipients!

The Area 1 recipient is Caitlin Kozelichki of Alexis, IL. She is attending Monmouth College where she is majoring in Mathematics with a Secondary Education Certification. Caitlin has received a number of honors including the Dean’s list, Monmouth College Achievement Award and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois award. She is also a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

Jaclyn Fowler

The Area 2 recipient is Jaclyn Fowler of McHenry, IL. Jaclyn will be a senior at Northern Illinois University where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education. Jaclyn is a recipient of Project DREAMS (ESL Grant) and a member of the Secondary Educators’ Organization. This summer she will study abroad in Argentina and her goal is teach and volunteer all over the world.

Ashley Sheets

The Area 3 recipient is Ashley Sheets of Bismarck, IL. She attended Danville Area Community College where she received an Associates of Science and Arts degree. Ashley attends Eastern Illinois University where she is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education with middle school endorsements in language arts and social sciences. She volunteers as a tutor at the Newman Catholic center and is involved in the Mark Twain Mentoring Program.

Kendra McEvers

The Area 4 recipient is Kendra McEvers of Greenfield, IL. Kendra will be a senior at Illinois College where she is majoring in Elementary Education. She is involved with a campus teacher organization called Tomorrow’s Teachers where college students tutor community children.

Another Area 4 recipient is Gabrielle Esselman of Quincy, IL. She attended John Wood Community College and is currently attending Western Illinois University where she is majoring in Special Education. Gabrielle is a resident assistant and works with students through the WYMAN Teen Leadership Program which is a nationally known program that is based out of St. Louis.

Susan Ponder

The Area 5 recipient is Susan Ponder of Tuscola, IL. Susan currently attends Danville Area Community College where she will graduate in May 2015 with an Associates of Science & Arts degree. In the fall, she will be attending Illinois State University where she will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education. Susan is a member of the local Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and captain of the Danville Area Community College Lady Jaguars cross country team.

Annie Bastien

The Area 6 recipient is Annie Bastien of Vergennes, IL. While still in high school, Annie attended John A. Logan College and currently attends Greenville College where she is majoring in Elementary Education. It is her intent to obtain a degree in Elementary Education from Greenville College in a minimum of three total years.

Emily Oxford

Another Area 6 recipient is Emily Oxford of Benton, IL. Emily currently attends Rend Lake College and will be transferring to Eastern Illinois University in the fall of 2015 where she will be pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She is working as a co-op student at Ewing Grade School where she works with students in 1st, 2nd and 4th grade classrooms.

IRTA would like to congratulate all of our winners and wish them success in their future classroom endeavors. If you know anyone who would be interested in applying for our 2016 IRTA Foundation scholarships, please contact Susan Goetz at 800.728.4782 or to get further information.

Moler-Austin Scholarship Results

The Moler-Austin Scholarship is another scholarship available through the Illinois Retired Teachers Association Foundation. Two scholarships of $4,500 are being awarded to Kendall County high school graduates pursuing a degree in education. This scholarship is available because of a generous gift from IRTA member Identa Austin. Identa donated 80 acres of land to the IRTA, and the profits from the sale of that land are used to fund the Moler-Austin scholarship.

The 2015 recipients are:

Madeline Fay Benson

Madeline Fay Benson of Plano, IL attended Waubonsee Community College where she earned an Associates of Science degree and a Library Technical Assistant certificate. She graduated with Presidential Honors and was a Phi Theta Kappa member. She currently attends Northern Illinois University where she is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. Madeline works at a small rural library year-round and also works summers at the Kendall County Forest Preserve as a camp counselor.

Kaitlyn Sparkman

Kaitlyn Sparkman of Oswego, IL attends North Central College where she is studying English and Secondary Education. Kaitlyn is a member of the College Scholars program. She was accepted into Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, and Alpha Delta Delta, the Education Honor Society. In addition to being a full time student, she works as a preschool teacher at The Compass School in Naperville, IL.

The Illinois Retired Teachers Association Foundation wishes Madeline and Kaitlyn the very best as they complete their course work to become educators.

If you know anyone interested in applying for next year's scholarships, please contact Susan Goetz at 800.728.4782 or for further information.

Greene-Jersey RTA Meeting (June 26, 2015)
IRTA President Bob Pinkerton, Scholarship Winner Kendra McEvers, and Unit President Pat Taylor

Foundation Board Vice-Chair Judi Harland and Area 6 Representative Bill Funkhouser presenting award to Area 6 winner Annie Bastien.

IRTA Treasurer Shirley Dodds and Area 6 Representative Bill Funkhouser presenting the scholarship donated by Shirley to winner Emily Oxford.

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