The eight students are among the 175 who received scholarships out of 1,600 nominations statewide, according to a news release by Golden Apple, a nonprofit that oversees the program.
Golden Apple Scholars from Will County are:
• Sydney Banks, Bolingbrook, Bolingbrook High School;
• Jamal Bruce, Romeoville, Plainfield East High School;
• Emily Durham, Lemont, Lemont High School;
• Osha King, Joliet, Joliet Central High School;
• Daniel Lacy, Wilmington, Wilmington High School;
• Katelyn Lowery, Frankfort, Lincoln-Way North High School;
• Courtney Miller, New Lenox, Lincoln-Way West High School;
• Antonia Santiago, Bolingbrook, Bolingbrook High School.
The program provides tuition assistance during undergraduate studies at 52 Illinois universities.
The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program was formed in 1989. The program prepares students to teach in challenging school environments “where more resilient teachers are desperately needed,” according to the news release.
“We applaud these young people for making the selfless choice to inspire and lead future generations of students through a career in education,” Dominic Belmonte, president and chief executive of Golden Apple, said in the written statement.
The program has been proven to improve graduation rates among participants, most of whom are the first in their family to attend college or come from low-income households. At the same time, more than 80 percent of participants successfully graduate from college each year while half end up earning more in their first year of teaching than their total household income at the time they applied to college.