Scholarship Stories from the University of Illinois Springfield

Stories of students at UIS and the generous scholarship donors who support their dreams

Category: Student Stories (page 2 of 2)

Stories featuring the students who receive scholarships.

A young man in trouble clarifies Greg Irwin’s future

Sally Pancrazio, Greg Irwin

Dr. Sally Pancrazio and Greg Irwin at the 2015 Scholarship Luncheon

The young man, hardly more than a boy, who came to the Cunningham Children’s Home was in terrible trouble.

He had been abused by his father. He’d been given too little to eat.

All this affected his behavior. With little or no cause, he got into frequent fights—often with people much older and bigger, and he paid the price in pain. He trusted no one. Continue reading

In baseball, in the classroom, Adam Warda achieves success

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UIS wasn’t Adam Warda’s first choice for college.

Following high school graduation, Adam enrolled at Southern Illinois University, where Adam had a baseball scholarship.

Unfortunately, he suffered an injury and didn’t get to play as much as he had planned. After his sophomore year, he returned home to attend a junior college.

While there, he caught the eye of UIS baseball coach Chris Ramirez, and that brought him to UIS.

He’ll be graduating at the end of fall semester. So even though UIS wasn’t his first college, it will definitely be his last! Continue reading

Grace Latimore–From alone in a crowd to ready for anything

Grace Latimore

Activity swirled around Grace Latimore as she stood in the crowded atrium at UIS during Open Mic Night.

Students talked, laughed, called out friends to the mic, and applauded each other’s efforts.

Only a freshman, but already active on the Black Student Union executive board, Grace had helped plan this event, and she was laughing and having as good a time as anyone.

But she couldn’t help thinking, I’m surrounded by people but still alone. Continue reading

Disappointment and then a satisfying surprise for Kayla Metcalf

Kayla for blog“Hey, you need to look at this!”

Abby, Kayla Metcalf’s friend, eagerly held out her phone to show Kayla a news post.

Abby knew Kayla had recently decided to attend UIS.

The only problem? Kayla was leaning toward a nursing career, and the best she could do at UIS was pre-med. If she really wanted nursing, she would have to transfer to another school after her sophomore year. Continue reading

Overcoming obstacles fulfills Ivette Ortiz’s dream of college

Ivette Ortiz for blog

A faraway goal, way off on the horizon, with no clear path and many obstacles in the way.

From the time her kindergarten class visited a police station, Ivette has wanted to serve her community as a police officer and then someday join the FBI.

But to do so, she would need a college degree—and that seemed impossible.

Continue reading

A Triumph over Tragedy in Three Acts for Andrew Dewey

Andrew Dewey for blog

Andrew Dewey’s story has three acts, and each plays an important role in his journey from tragedy to triumph.

Act 1: Hurricane Katrina–twelve hours that changed Andrew’s life

On August 15, 2005, Andrew moved his wife and their four children to LaPlace, Louisiana, a few miles west of New Orleans. A promotion to regional supervisor of franchises for a national company allowed Andrew to purchase a large house close to Lake Pontchartrain.

Ten days later, Katrina struck, and Andrew’s life took a sharp turn toward trouble.

Continue reading

Careful planning propels Josh Lawson to promising future

Josh Lawson for blog

Josh Lawson is a man who plans ahead.

Growing up in a family with eight brothers and sisters, he decided fairly early that his only hope of going to college was joining the military, which would provide educational assistance for tuition and some fees.

So 5-1/2 years ago, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard.

He decided at the time to have his work in the Guard count for more than just educational assistance. He would use the time to develop skills for his career as well.

Continue reading

How an Unexpected Choice Paid Off Big for Colin Blaydes

Blaydes Shooting for blog

Colin Blaydes was running out of time.

Colin, a basketball player, had recently finished  two years at a community college.

It was time to decide where he would go to finish his degree and complete his last two years of eligibility.

Colleges in Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and even as far away as North Carolina had offered him scholarships, with the best offer coming from a university in Iowa—close to a full ride for his last two years of college.

The Iowa coach wanted an answer.

“We have this nice deal for you,” Colin remembers the coach saying. “If you’re not coming, I need to know so that I can give it to someone else.”

Just one problem.

Continue reading

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