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Humboldt Park student is one of the recipients of “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”

Humboldt Park student is one of the recipients of “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”

CTA, RPM Contractor Walsh-Fluor and Chicago Scholars in 2020 Launched RPM Scholarship Program to Help Youth Pursue Education and Careers in Construction

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. and CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson announced today that three recent Chicago Public School graduates have been named recipients of the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”, the first students to be awarded these scholarships since the program was launched earlier this year [link to video].

The scholarship program provides $5,500 per year for four years to economically disadvantaged students who plan to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) for engineering and construction-related degrees.

“As Chicago faces multiple challenges, now more than ever we must continue to find ways to increase equitable access to opportunity for all of our youth,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Innovative programs like this scholarship program help give the financial and mentoring support these outstanding students need and prepare them to build careers and participate in our city’s economic vibrancy.”

“From the very start, the RPM project has been about making a better future for all Chicagoans: residents, riders, businesses and the workforce,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This program moves us closer to that goal by offering these remarkable students with the opportunity to pursue education and build careers in the construction and engineering fields.”

“Every CPS graduate deserves to be able to follow their postsecondary dreams without facing an insurmountable financial barrier,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Through the ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,’ the CTA and Walsh-Fluor are providing a helping hand to some of our city’s hardest-working young adults.”

“We are proud of these three students and the work they’ve accomplished,” said Dave Shier, Walsh-Fluor RPM Project Executive. “We hope this scholarship not only brightens their present, but enables them to lead tomorrow’s engineering fields and truly become the city of Chicago’s next generation of homegrown leaders.”

“The commitment provided to Chicago Scholars’ students through the ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund’ is a game changer. Not only does it provide important financial support, it is proof that Chicago’s leaders see these three students as the leaders of tomorrow,” said Dominique Jordan Turner, CEO of Chicago Scholars. “We are proud of these students, and all of our Scholars, who are continuing to commit to their futures and education in these uncertain times.”

The program was created as part of the CTA’s historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization Phase One (RPM) project. Project contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build team is sponsoring the scholarships and making paid internships on the RPM project available to scholarship recipients.

The first-of-its-kind CTA initiative provides scholarships, mentoring support and career guidance for under-resourced college students. The scholarship program is administered by Chicago Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to college access, college success, and leadership development for first-generation and low-income students in Chicago.

Donated by Walsh-Fluor to help offset tuition costs for CPS graduates, the $250,000 ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund’ will provide 10 financial aid scholarships from 2020 through 2023 for students who plan on majoring in construction management, civil engineering, industrial or systems engineering. Students who are awarded scholarships will also be eligible to apply for paid summer internships with Walsh-Fluor and the CTA.

The 2020 CTA Elevating Futures Scholars, featured in a video here, are:

Jorge Vargas, 17, Humboldt Park

Jorge graduated near the top of his class at Lake View High School and will pursue a degree in civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is passionate about engineering and fell in love with trains as a young child, when he would travel back and forth between New York and Chicago on the Amtrak. He believes the innovative power that civil engineers have can be of immense benefit to society, and he hopes to use his engineering skills for positive social impact. In the future, he aspires to combine his interest in civil engineering with his entrepreneurial spirit by developing an international high-speed transit company that works to combat climate change. His goals also include providing more accessible and affordable transportation around the city in order to address needs in transportation deserts and promote economic development.

Other recipients:

Jasmine Jackson, 18, Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood

Jasmine ranked first in her class of nearly 200 students at Noble Street Charter – Gary Comer College Prep and will study engineering at Howard University. Her goal is to become a civil engineer because it will allow her to merge her two passions: math and art. She loves the challenge of solving a difficult math problem and the satisfaction of expressing her creativity through art. As a civil engineer, she will bring her creative side to her projects while ensuring everything is mathematically correct. Jasmine plans to use her profession to make the world a better place, for example, by starting a program that would build tiny homes for people who are experiencing homelessness.

George Vintila, 18, Portage Park

After excelling at Lane Tech College Prep in advanced courses such as AP Physics C Electricity and Mechanics, AP Calculus BC, and AP Computer Science, George will be studying computer engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology this fall. He believes that engineers hold the power to implement ideas to help ease economic inequality. He is excited about what he will learn through studying engineering in college and hopes that his efforts “will contribute to a cycle, where new students learn to engineer and apply their new-found proficiency to help others in need, who will then learn and do the same thing.” At school, George tutored other students through the Physics Club and focused on promoting renewable energies and recycling through the Environmental Club.

For more information about this program, visit ­CTA’s web site at transitchicago.com/rpm/workforce-opportunities or Chicago Scholars’ website at chicagoscholars.org/elevatingfutures.

For eligible freshmen, new aid program would help fully cover 2020-21 tuition, fees

Illinois high school students who graduate this coming spring with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above might now be able to reap the benefits of a generous financial aid program at Northern Illinois University.

The new Huskie Pledge aims to make NIU more affordable for Illinois families with household incomes of $75,000 or less. For qualifying full-time students, the Huskie Pledge Program will provide a grant to help completely cover first-year tuition and general fees.

“Our Huskie Pledge is yet another step toward our goal of making a life-changing NIU education affordable and accessible to as many students as possible,” said NIU President Lisa Freeman, who announced the program during her Oct. 22 State of the University address. “If you’re a hard-working student, we want to help you succeed at NIU and beyond.”

Determined after factoring in a qualifying student’s initial institutional, federal and state aid (including Pell Grants and Monetary Award Program grants), a Huskie Pledge Grant will meet the amount of any remaining first-year expenses for tuition and general fees.

If income, enrollment and university GPA criteria continue to be met, the same Huskie Pledge Grant amount received during the initial year of NIU enrollment will be renewable for up to four additional years, regardless of increases or decreases in other aid during subsequent years.

The program is open to freshmen starting at NIU in the fall of 2020. Funding is limited, and students should apply for admission to NIU and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Illinois RISE Act application by the priority deadline of Feb. 1.

Key qualifying criteria for the award include the following:

  • Illinois residency.
  • A cumulative 3.0 grade point average at an Illinois high school.
  • Graduation from high school during the 2019-20 school year.
  • A family income of $75,000 or less.
  • Family assets of $75,000 or less (as defined by the FAFSA).
  • Fall 2020 enrollment at NIU as a full-time student.

Sol Jensen, vice president for the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication, said the Huskie Pledge is designed to support the university’s mission as an institution providing access to and serving talented incoming students who reflect Illinois’ broad socioeconomic diversity.

“We think this is one of the more generous financial aid programs in the state, one that makes our university even more accessible to students of all backgrounds,” Jensen said. “If you’re a high school student currently carrying close to a 3.0 GPA, you should be checking out NIU to see if you qualify. We’re eager to see you become a Huskie.”

The Huskie Pledge Program is supported by funding from the State of Illinois.

In addition to need-based financial aid, thousands of NIU students each year receive grants and earn merit scholarships that have no family-income requirements. When students apply for admission to NIU, they are automatically considered for the merit aid.

Learn more about the Huskie Pledge. For general information on financial aid and merit scholarships at NIU, visit the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office website.


Northern Illinois University is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university, with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law. Through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and education centers for students and working professionals in Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford, NIU offers more than 100 areas of study while serving a diverse and international student body.

This past weekend ComEd hosted fifty Chicagoland freshman students at the Art Institute of Chicago to further develop their STEM skills and enhance their understanding of the fundamentals of energy, smart-city technologies and sustainability. This session is a part of the ComEd HFS Chicago Scholars STEM Program that launched in December, offered exclusively to students in the HFS Scholars program, which helps socioeconomically-disadvantaged, and flourishing students attend top Chicago private high schools.

The STEM program includes five immersive workshops per academic year for four years where students gain project-based experience with the mentoring of professional engineers. The working session held on Saturday, March 2nd, was the third of the five workshops with the creative backdrop of the Art Institute of Chicago. Impressively, the students continue to show a consistent commitment to STEM education as well as a high level of engagement. ComEd mentor and Engineer for ComEd, Oke Chika also added to the students’ enthusiasm by leading interactive discussions regarding their future career opportunities and STEM applications in the real world.

The 2nd Annual St. Sylvester Fest is an annual festival held to gather everyone from the neighborhood/community for a day of fun, food and enjoyment for family and friends.

This year our festival will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. There will be a mass at 2:00 p.m.

The festival will have a DJ, live music, a beer garden and activities for children and their families.

The goal of this event is to raise much needed funds for the St. Sylvester Parish and School.

Tours of the school and church will be offered during the festival. There will also be a $1,000 scholarship raffle.

Win a $1,000 scholarship to St. Sylvester School!
Enter the raffle at St. Sylvester Fest on October 7, 2017. The Winner will be announced the following week and will receive a $1,000 scholarship. To enter you must attend St. Sylvester Fest and MUST BE A NEW FAMILY. Tours to the school will also be offered during the fest. Share our post/page with family and friends so they can #DiscoverTheDifference. Stop by or call St. Sylvester School to set up a tour and get all enrollment questions answered.