Katie Terziovski’s father and his family immigrated to the United States from Romania and made a life for themselves in the metro-east.
“Their success here meant the world to them as they escaped a communist country,” she said.
Katie grew up in Granite City and is now a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She wrote about the opportunities her family found in the metro-east in an essay contest for a $2,000 scholarship, which she won along with five other local college students.
The “Get to know m.e.” Campaign that awarded the scholarships asked the students to write about why they love living in the metro-east.
Katie said her family was able to find success because of the metro-east’s welcoming community, economy and cost of living.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for how the metro-east impacted my family’s life,” she wrote in the essay. “I wouldn’t have the success I have today if it wasn’t for the viability of this area.”
Another scholarship winner, Kaitlyn Dixon, who is a self-described “West Coast girl,” said she was nervous when she moved 1,806 miles to the metro-east to attend Lindenwood University in Belleville. But she said the community “embraces newcomers without a second thought.”
“...I learned quickly that I had found a home here, one that I could grow with as I went through my college experience,” Kaitlyn said.
Emily Donovan, a second scholarship winner from Lindenwood, referred to the metro-east as “the heart of the Midwest” in her essay. Emily’s family moved to Scott Air Force Base when she was just 2 years old, and she said they’ve stayed here ever since.
Belleville native Kelsey Sutherland, a McKendree University student, went so far as to call the metro-east “the gem of the United States.”
“It is a symbol of expansion and potential,” Kelsey said. “There is both city life and rural towns sometimes just miles apart from one another.”
Both Allison Loehr, a McKendree student, and Allie Sweatt, an SIUE student, wrote in their essays about a feeling of support in the community of Edwardsville.
To read the full essays written by the six scholarship winners, visit get2knowthemetroeast.com.