Twenty-four students received college scholarships totaling $14,500 earlier this month from Greater St. John Bible Church, bringing the total awarded over the last 12 years to $174,500.
Standing before friends and family who gathered Aug. 2 at the JLM Abundant Life Community Center, the students were honored and encouraged as the embark on their next chapter.
Stacy Osideko, a graduate student in Concordia University’s education and leadership program, was one of this year’s recipients.
Osideko said she was relieved to receive her $500 scholarship because every little bit counts. She offered some advice for students worried about how to pay for college.
“A lot of times your parents teach you not to beg for things,” Osideko said. “When it comes to your education, you need to beg and always push. Financial aid [offices] will give you what they want to give you, but you don’t have to accept that. ”
Osideko, who’s a teacher at Milton Brunson Math & Science Specialty School, said she’s earning her master’s degree to become a principal with the goal of building character in the next generation of students.
“High morals and values are things that I want to give back to my community,” Osideko said. “A lot of times we have students who have homes where they’re not being taught values and ethics … We have to teach it in school.”
“We want to send a message loud and clear in our church that it’s cool to be in school,” said Rev. Ira Acree. “These kids are exemplary students. They are our best and brightest.”
Acree said he wished the church were able to give away more scholarships, but he’s glad that this year’s recipients will have some funds to start the school year.
Through the Devry Advantage Academy, Lanier obtained her associate’s degree while in high school and plans to study social work at Concordia.
“I love working with you, and I plan to do anything I can to work with youth and give back to the community,” Lanier said. “The $1,000 is helping me pay off some of the loans I have.”
Lanier said obtaining her associate’s degree was difficult at times, but her family supported her and helped her balance her time. Lanier said getting an education is key to being the best you can be.
Here are the other students who received scholarships from Greater St. John Bible Church Church this year:
Abbott, Courtney – University of Illinois, Springfield
Acree, Nicole M. – Clark Atlanta University
Bolling, Shayna M. – University of Illinois Springfield
Coffee, Johniqua D. – Chicago State University
Gibson, Dantrell M. – Harold Washington College
Harris, Trinette P. – Lincoln College
Holmes, Airion L. – Kentucky State University
Johnson, James – Lewis University
Pernell, Marche D. – University of Missouri
Pinklyn, Hakim R. – Beloit College
Pore, Kiara Texas – Southern University
Pughsley, Tanisha D. – Alabama State University
Rounds, Willie J. – Central State University
Washington, Terrance – Western Illinois University
Wiley, Leteshia – Richard J. Daley College
Wiley, Markwan – Western Illinois University
2013 High school graduates
Hubbard, James A. – Indiana State University
Marsh, Kentrell K. – Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
McNeal, Kalil – Lakeland College
Reed, Marissa S. – Western Illinois University
Thomas, Tara J. – Illinois State University
White, Dewan St. – Ambrose University