May 17, 2015- Gillespie, Illinois - Twenty-three percent of Gillespie High School (GHS) seniors receiving diplomas this year were awarded $500 tuition scholarships from The Partnership for Educational Excellence during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 17, 2015. The awards were presented by Partnership president John Fassero, Jr., and director Brandi Bunn.
"Thanks to the loyalty and generosity of hundreds of supporters, only a few of which we can name here, we can recognize these 16 excellent students and give them a little help furthering their educations," says Fassero. "This year in particular students from the valedictorian to some in the lowest quarter of the class earned our awards. Their letters of recommendation reveal born leaders with clear goals. Their life essays show thoughtful assessments of their own strengths and weaknesses. They perfectly embody our policy of rewarding every ability level for hard work, involvement in school and community activities, and proven ability to set goals. We are confident of their future success" says a founding director as well as president, "and proud of the small role we may play in it.
"Our scholarships are not large, because we want to recognize the greatest number of students," says Fassero. "And parents over the years have told us that the $500 tuition payment does help their students during first semester." The funds are paid directly to the colleges.
This year a total of $8,000 was awarded. To date the Partnership has awarded $178,500 in tuition scholarships to 356 graduates of Gillespie High School.
In addition, The Partnership again administered two $100 cash awards from the estate of Evaline Boehmke for musicianship in band and chorus.
This year’s awards include:
THE DR. D. ROSS AND MRS. ROSEMARY BILLITER SCHOLARSHIP. Awarded for the first time, this scholarship was instituted by the Billiters to thank the many area residents who supported Dr. Billiter’s practice as general surgeon at St. Francis Hospital for many years. The award goes to:
Daniel Pinkerton, II, son of Daniel and Carol Pinkerton of Benld, will attend Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey to major in automotive technology.
EMIL BORGINI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by an anonymous donor. He taught in Benld, taught and coached at GHS, where he was also principal for 20 years. Borgini retired as CUSD#7 superintendent.
Emily Reid, daughter of Gary and Amy Reid of Gillespie, will attend St. Louis University to major in pre-med or education.
CARROLL-KEUPPER SCHOLARSHIP established by the late Rosemary Keupper Valle and her sister Lillian Keupper in honor of their families who have been involved in medicine, world health, and banking/finance. Their grandfather Anthony Carroll, a member of the Gillespie school board, initiated strong family support for the local school system and its students.
Gary Ross, son of Anne Marie Bauer Ross and Jay Ross of Gillespie, will attend St. Louis University and major in health sciences.
ELINOR DAVIES NURSING SCHOLARSHIP by friends and family in honor of Elinor who served many decades as school nurse in CUSD#7.
Karlie Libbra, daughter of Jennifer Valenti of Gillespie, will attend Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville to major in pediatric nursing.
CAROL ENRICO DE LUCCA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TOP GIRL GRADUATES established by family and friends in memory of this Benld native who was a respected educator and counselor. The daughter of Rose Enrico, Carol established a consulting business to help students pursue their goals through higher education. Her daughters Allison and Ashley live in California.
Nichole Miller, daughter of Donald and Ann Miller of rural Carlinville, will attend Western Illinois University at Macomb and major in agricultural science.
DANNY GRIFFEL MEMORIAL AGRICULTURE SCHOLARSHIP by family and friends. Danny, a Korean Conflict veteran, was honored in 2009 for continuous ownership and operation of the family farm since 1856. He was active in a number of civic, benevolent, and recreational organizations. His son David serves on the CUSD7 school board; his daughter Donna Easton is a school nurse in CUSD7. Four of his grandchildren are past Partnership scholars.
Josh Friese, son of Pastor Steve and Edie Friese of Gillespie, will attend Eastern Illinois University at Charleston to major in accounting.
JULIA KRAVANYA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by family and friends. Born in Scotland, she married Anton J. Kravanya in1942 in Gillespie. They raised two children, Fran now Mrs. Mike Slapak of South Carolina, and Tony, who operates Kravanya Funeral Homes with his wife Marilyn, Julia’s grandson Anthony and granddaughter Lyn in Gillespie, Benld, and Bunker Hill. Another grandson Nicholas is a dentist in Carlinville.
Shelsie Timmermeier, daughter of Jeffrey and Tracy Timmermeier of rural Litchfield, will attend Blackburn University in Carlinville to major in medical laboratory technology.
JOHN and MARK MADDEN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by family to lovingly honor this father and son. Both played Miners football, graduated from GHS and St. Louis University Law School. John returned to serve the community he loved in private practice, as a county public defender, and for 43 years as Gillespie City Attorney. He died at age 78 on 10 October 2009. His son Mark lived half as long, dying suddenly at the age of 39 on 11 October 2005. He was a trial attorney with Moser and Marshalak in St. Louis.
Derick Engelke, son of Brian and Lisa Engelke of Gillespie, will attend Lindenwood College in St. Louis to major in business.
LANA ODORIZZI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by Anonymous, friends, and family. Mrs. O, as most of her students called her, was a beloved elementary school P.E. teacher and middle- and high school volleyball coach for 13 years in CUSD7. She also coached softball, track, soccer, Little League, gymnastics and taught fitness and swimming to hundreds of local children.
Brady Anderson, son of Robert and Annie Anderson of Gillespie, will attend Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville to major in sports medicine.
RYAN ROACH MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by family and friends. Ryan, a 2005 GHS graduate, lost his life in a tragic accident in 2013. A talented musician as well as an EMT, he was widely known locally as "DJ 2 Time". He had just signed with a professional DJ company, but his passion was playing with Harvest Ministry where he’s remembered as "loving to lead and willing to serve."
Kaitlin Henrichs, daughter of Eric and Gina Henrichs of Dorchester, will attend Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, to major in music performance.
JAMES ROSENTRETER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by his family. "Our dad spent his life helping other people pursue educational and financial goals. It’s fitting that once again Dad is sharing his dream of a young person’s success."
Jacob Kirkwood, son of Jeff and Tracie Kirkwood of Dorchester, will attend Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa, to major in the ministry.
SCHMIDT BARTON FAMILY FUND SCHOLARSHIP William Schmidt, Sr., and his wife Florence raised five children in Gillespie. He worked in a Gillespie bank for 20 years before joining the Columbia Quarry Company in 1932. He remained active with the firm until his death in 1987. His son John Schmidt of Arizona is president of the Schmidt Foundation. The Schmidt’s, and subsequently his sister Lucille’s foundations, have chosen The Partnership to carry out their local investment in our children through many generous gifts over 22 years.
Abigail Pollard, daughter of Ron and Lorette Pollard of Gillespie, will attend Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville to major in mass communications and television.
TRAVIS SEMPLOWSKI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP in loving memory by family and friends. Travis, a graduate of GHS, was a member of Future Farmers of America. He was working as an automotive specialist at WalMart in Litchfield when he died tragically on 28 July 2009 at the age of 21.
Ellie Halpin, daughter of Bill and Tammy Halpin of Gillespie, will attend Lewis and Clark Community College to major in architectural technology.
UMWA Local 1613 SCHOLARSHIP represents coal miners, health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing employees and public employees in our communities. The union fights for safe workplaces, good wages and benefits, and fair representation in workplaces.
Jared Young, son of Kim Anne Young of Gillespie, will attend Lewis and Clark Community College. He is undecided about his major.
MICHAEL VALENTI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by friends and family is awarded in loving memory of this 1994 GHS graduate who lost his life in 1999 in a tragic accident. Michael had completed an associate’s degree at Lewis and Clark Community College and was continuing his education at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Quentin Zenner, son of Nicole Zenner of Gillespie, will attend Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, to major in psychology and pre-law.
LOIS ZANTER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by friends and family. Lois was an elementary school teacher and librarian in CUSD7 for 29 years. Devoted to education herself, she was proud that her daughter Gail Niehaus, grandchildren Casey Niehaus and Kara Strode are also dedicated teachers. Gail and Casey are past classroom mini-grant recipients.
Jordan Rosentreter, daughter of Rodney and Jill Rosentreter of Gillespie, will attend Illinois State University in Normal to major in education.
EVALINE BOEHMKE MUSICIANSHIP AWARDS: Evaline (Mrs. Robert) Boehmke, was an ardent supporter of music in CUSD7. She left a bequest for $100 cash awards for students to be selected by the music faculty of Gillespie High School for outstanding musicianship in GHS band and chorus. This year the Band and Chorus winners are the same person: Kaitlin Henrichs.