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DPCF Awards Five Scholarships for College-Bound Students

The Des Plaines Community Foundation awarded five $1,500 scholarships to 2022 Des Plaines college-bound students. This is the 10th year the Foundation has offered these scholarships.

The Sadie Rose Argus College Scholarship Awards were named after a 2014, Maine West graduate, Sadie Rose Argus, who volunteered hundreds of hours to the Des Plaines Community Foundation.

According to Rosemary Argus, executive director of the Foundation, the annual scholarships are available for both two-year and four-year college students starting school in the fall of 2022.

“The Foundation is celebrating a decade long effort helping young adults obtain a college education and we view it as a sincere investment, not only in the future of our youth, but also in the future of Des Plaines,” said Argus. “The scholarships will help bring a college degree within reach for students who need it most, especially after such a tough school year during COVID.”

The five 2022 Sadie Rose Argus College Scholarship Award winners are: Lukasz Iwanowski, Zeel Mody and Prem Shah all from Maine East High School; Lena Perry from Maine West High School; and Maryjo Coleman from Elk Grove High School. Each will receive $1,500 toward their college tuition this fall.

The scholarship committee consists of five board members who read all the applications. The board members scored the applications one through five on the compositions and grades. Scores are tabulated and the top five scores win scholarships.



Here are the details on the five recipients of the 2022 Sadie Rose Argus College Scholarship Awards:

• Lukasz Iwanowski is a recent graduate from Maine East High School. He will be attending Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri this fall and will be studying business at the university’s highly regarded Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. During his senior year in high school, he volunteered in the Maine East Senior Lyceum Program and worked as a drive-through cashier at Portello’s Hot Dogs.

Service to the community through the Lyceum Program has taught Iwanowski compassion and a sense of community through maximizing his individual strengths and personal achievements.

“I can definitely say that my experiences in high school with the gifted Lyceum Program and working with customers at Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive-through have made a huge difference in my life,” said Iwanowski. “I also learned a great deal of leadership skills and strengths.

“When I am practicing with my Cross Country Track team, I have grown to become a better leader by using encouraging words and phrases to motivate my teammates,” he said.



“I realized being a team captain means that other people look to me as an example, so I always do my best to demonstrate resilience and responsibility,” he noted.

Iwanowski is able to head toward the challenges in his life straight on with utter confidence and succeed whether in an academic setting or authentic standing. He plans to work effectively and consistently with his peers in order to make an impact on the issues that surround us as a community.

• Zeel Mody will be attending Elmhurst University in Elmhurst, Illinois this fall. She will be majoring in Criminal Justice with minors in Cybersecurity and Psychology. She aspires to use these degrees to apply to the FBI Honors Internship program and the Police Academy after college.

She is a recent graduate from Maine East High School. Her ultimate goal is to work for the federal law enforcement agency — but she plans to begin this path as a police officer.

“I had many dreams as a child, but I knew right away I wanted to go into law enforcement,” said Mody.

“Being a South Asian female didn’t make it easy for me at all,” she said. “I had been doubted, but career wise I have succeeded and I am now going to attend a four-year university to study Criminal Justice. It is important to me because neither of my parents were fortunate enough to earn a college degree and still made the best of their lives in America.”

Mody volunteered for more than four years at Project Linus, a national charity with chapters in Illinois. It provides love and a sense of security for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need of new homemade blankets made by the charities from “blanketeers.”

“Project Linus is a nonprofit project very close to my heart. The goal is to gather handmade blankets for less fortunate children in need from hospitals to homeless people living in tents in underpasses in Chicago,” said Mody. “I have lost count of how many times I have participated in Project Linus. There isn’t a better feeling than the compassion and respect I feel when I sit down to make these blankets for them.”

She sees blanket making not as volunteering but as becoming friends with strangers.

“Volunteering for Project Linus has opened my eyes to a world where people don’t always get what they want,” she said. “By doing the small gestures, like providing blankets, I hope it is one less thing the less fortunate have to worry about.”

• Prem Shah recently graduated from Maine East High School. He will attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Champaign, Illinois. He plans to major in Business. Shah is active in community service with two organizations Light and Salt academy and the Rotary Interact.

“There are many uncertainties regarding the future, but certain goals I have in life are established, and the remaining factor is to achieve these goals,” he said.

Beginning in fall 2022, he wants to embark on a journey of studying business in college. He wants to take part in multiple internships, study abroad and join extracurricular activities to gain practical and international experience. After graduation, he wants to work for a financial firm.

“Throughout my high school years, getting involved was a priority,” Shah said. “Extracurricular activities, sports or even service for my community gave me opportunities to be a leader and help inspire fellow students, teachers, and the community to make the world a better place.”

Shah has demonstrated leadership qualities both inside and outside of his school community. He currently holds leadership positions in the Foundations/Investments Club as the co-president, the Rotary Interact Club as an officer and the Maine Historical Society as treasurer. Outside of school he volunteered with the Light and Salt Academy tutoring refugee students with reading and working as an intern helping a start-up find funding for a social justice project.

All have taught him leadership, time management, teamwork and organizational skills.

“I have demonstrated leadership qualities in my position at the Foundations/Investments Club by creating presentations for every meeting, planning competitions and tracking club funds to ensure we fulfill opportunities for our members,” said Shah. “At the Rotary Interact Club I have assisted in planning fundraisers and creating posters to raise money for charitable causes.”

In his position as treasurer for the Maine Historical Society he was responsible for tracking funds to host events such as the Cherry Pie Festival.

Shah’s experience with the Light and Salt Academy developed his leadership skills by assisting fellow students increase their reading levels by several grades within a few months.

Also, in his finance/research internship outside of school, he worked with colleagues from different time zones to foster equity and inclusivity around the world for the social justice project.

“For me, leadership has the sole purpose of satisfying my values while working with others to reach a common goal,” he said. “The value of service, involvement and leadership will continue with me wherever I go.”

• Lena Perry is attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and will be studying Computer Science. She graduated from Maine West High School this year.

“Now that I graduated, I am looking forward to attending college to meet lifelong friends, getting to know the staff, students and the entire community and graduating with a wealth of knowledge in my chosen field of computer science,” said Perry. “The technicality of the computer field is what drew me to it along with the creativity it provides. Similar to community service, you can see your direct impact toward others after putting in the work.”

Perry was introduced to community service in middle school with WE Day, which held many annual concerts for groups. Next, she was involved in Feed My Starving Children, packing food and writing letters to veterans.

Then in high school she joined the Key Club, an extension of the Kiwanis Club dedicated to service. In the summer she worked with a nonprofit organization, Clean Up Give Back, where she cleaned up in and around Des Plaines keeping trash off the streets, and performed social media outreach.

Rather than doing the same three service activities, she wants to branch out, meet new people and become more confident in herself.

Specifically, for the SDCD (Student Department for Community Development) where she met and talked with a few adults about service opportunities and how to best implement them within a college environment.

Service has instilled a sense of purpose and confidence in Perry. She hopes to continue that positive influence in her own life while helping others feel the same way.

“It has taught me that service doesn’t just help others, but also makes you feel more connected to your community and grateful for the things you have that others do not,” she said.

• Maryjo Coleman is attending Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois and will be pursuing a degree in English and History. She plans to teach middle-level Education after graduation from college. She recently graduated from Elk Grove High School.

“It has been my dream to become an educator,” said Coleman. “I loved learning in school and have made it my goal to educate and inspire children around the globe.”

According to Coleman, one of her goals is to be a middle-level educator and provide a judgement-free learning environment.

“My goal is to live in another country for a few years and teach there as well as educating children in the Chicagoland area,” she said.

Coleman has felt helping out the community and offering service has always come naturally to her.

Throughout her life Coleman has participated in numerous community-service groups but there are two that meant the most to her — St. Jude fundraisers and a COVID-19 community service project that she helped start. She even shaved her head to raise money and awareness for children with cancer for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Another community-service project was the Mad Hatter themed tea party fundraiser where guests attended and entered a raffle. The tea party raised thousands of dollars for St. Jude.

“One of the most impactful community services I have ever done was a project I started out of my home,” she said. |Since the COVID-19 pandemic began my mother and I have spent hours sewing masks and making care packages for the local homeless.”

“We made thousands of masks and even were able to secure a storage room in the Des Plaines Salvation Army Corp., to continue with this impactful service. It was amazing how many Des Plaines residents were wearing the masks we created,” she said.

“Throughout my life I have participated in many forms of civil engagement,” Coleman said. “However, these projects are the ones that had the most impact in my life. Not just because I was helping the community, but because of the lessons I learned that will help me in the future.”

These community service projects have not only just helped the community, but they also taught me essential skills she can use in the future, she noted.

The DPCF scholarship committee trustees who judged the student applications based on strict guidelines and required paperwork are: Rich Holke, Mark Lucaccioni, Chris Hassett, Sandra Hansen and Sherry Gardner.

“Students are required to be Des Plaines residents, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher,” said Holke, president of the Foundation, who helped the scholarship committee judge the applications.

“High school seniors must be in the process of applying to or enrolled in an accredited undergraduate program at college, university, or vocational/technical institution during the fall semester of 2022 to be eligible,” Holke said.

To qualify, students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. Graduate programs do not qualify.

The Foundation raises funds to identify, link and mobilize assets to support the service programs of the Des Plaines Healthy Community Partnership Programs whose activities improve the lives of those that live and work in Des Plaines.

Some of the programs include: Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program Committee; Healthy Community/Healthy Youth Program Committee; Intergenerational Program Committee, and Seasons of Service program Committee.

The Foundation has no paid employees and is 100-percent volunteer. He Foundation is a 501c3 organization and funds are obtained from individuals, businesses, and corporate tax-deductible contributions as well as from other foundations.

For information, visit the foundation website, or call Rosemary Argus at (847) 525-5566.


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