Congratulations! 2013-2014 Illinois State Scholars



From Left: Brianna Torres, Kyle Vernocke, Jaylah Brooks, Mr. Hoover (Principal), Rencie Baldon, Neil Hanson, Rachael Luzcak

Melissa Hollingshed, Staff Writer

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced the eight students from St. Joseph High School that were named Illinois State Scholars. These students include James Adams, Rencie Baldon, Neil Hansen, Jaylah Brooks, Rachel Luzcak, Sergio Navar, Briana Torres, and Kyle Vercnoke.

During November 2012 the qualified students were designated as 2013-14 State Scholars. Letters congratulating the Scholars were mailed from the ISAC with a Certificate of Achievement.

“I was going through the mail on black Friday and found the letter. I had sort of forgotten about the award because of how focused I am in my studies, as a result I was exceptionally surprised and ecstatic,” says Sergio Navar, also a winner of the Chicago Fire All-State All-Academic Team.

“My parents were the ones to open my letter and tell me about it. They were so proud and excited. They let my church know ASAP,” Jaylah Brooks, Treasury of NHS and also number one in her class, paused with a smile. “I received so many congratulations from everyone and I just really appreciate the support and love they’ve given me.”

In order to be eligible you must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen, a resident of Illinois, attend an approved high school, take the ACT and SAT, perform in the top one-half of your high school class at the end of the 3rd semester prior to graduation or score in the 95th percentile on the ACT/SAT, and graduate high school during the academic year you were selected to become a State Scholar.

“My motivation through high school is to retain my happiness and be able to look back and actually feel proud that I gave it my all. I want to become a nurse and I want to be able to choose the college of my choice without much stress. Receiving this award boosts my chances and I’m very happy my work is paying off,” explains Rencie Baldon, National Honors Society President.

Neil Hanson, The Lance, St. Joseph’s Newspaper Editor in Chief , says “In order to achieve something great you really have to work for it. I never expect anything to just be handed to me. I knew what I had to do and I did it, simple as that.”

The Illinois State Scholars gives recognition to students who are outstanding academically. Usually the top ten percentile of graduates are approved for the State Scholar each year.

Rachel Luzcak, also ranked number one in her class says,” My motivation has always been myself. My family supports me in whatever I do and how I do it. I am very much aware of my potential and I would never waste it. This award just shows my progress is on the right track.”

The Illinois State Scholar award allows the students to have an advantage on their college app.

“I had already applied to all my colleges when I received this award through the mail so I was pretty upset and happy all at the same time,” James Adams, Parliamentarian of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), says with a laugh. “But I was able to call the colleges and have them update my applications a few days after I received the award so everything turned out great,” he says relieved.

Congratulations again to the scholars. They really kept themselves motivated and worked very hard to achieve this award.

The following link officially shows the St. Joseph scholars on the ISAC website: