Local students earn more than $17,500 in scholarships

Students from across the metro-east recently earned more than $17,500 in college scholarships. Most are high school seniors, but the youngest scholarship recipient is an eighth grader.

One student earned money for college because he already owns and operates a small business. Althoff Catholic High School senior Royce Payne is one of 12 students in Illinois to receive a $2,000 scholarship from the National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation.

These scholarships encourage entrepreneurial talents among high school students who are small business owners, according to a news release. Mark Grant, state director of NFIB, expressed pride in the release.

“It’s hard for anyone to start a business and keep it going, but these students did that in between doing homework and studying for tests,” Grant stated.

Another student, Sofia Sierra, received a scholarship from the nation’s oldest art school. She is a sophomore at Belleville West High School.

Based on her submitted portfolio, Sofia won the Thomas Eakins Emerging Artist Scholarship from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The award provides tuition for the PAFA Summer Academy, through which she will receive college credit. She will travel to Pennsylvania for the summer program from July 2 to Aug. 4.

Sofia said in a news release that she received support from her teachers at Belleville West, including Rob Thornberry, Dan Krause and Cari Casper-Bassler, and from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville art professors Brigham Dimick and Jane Barrow.

Three more students from Belleville schools each received a $2,500 scholarship from the Rotary Club of Swansea, including:

▪  Belleville East High School senior Clare LaBlance

▪  Belleville West High School senior Kailyn Goodrich

▪  Althoff Catholic High School senior Elizabeth Fries

The Optimist Club of Millstadt also awarded scholarships to five students, who will each receive $1,000. Each of the award winners is a senior at Belleville West High School and previously attended Millstadt Consolidated Schools, including: Madeline Brown, Madison Grohne, Jillian Rosenkranz, Eli Tiemann and Amanda Wegner.

A pair of veteran Girl Scouts each received $500 through the 2017 Outstanding Graduating Girl Scout Scholarship, including:

▪  Edwardsville High School senior Kathleen McCracken

▪  Governor French Academy senior Caroline Stewart

But high school students aren’t the only ones earning scholarships.

Sandra Garcia Lopez, an eighth grader at Triad Middle School in St. Jacob, won a $2,000 scholarship in the Money Smart Kid Essay Contest. Sandra answered questions about the connection between financial health and physical health and what policymakers could do to help promote financially healthier citizens.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes