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Two Top Chicago Students Win $22K Scholarships

Two Top Chicago Students Win $22K Scholarships

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., CPS CEO Pedro Martinez and Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team announced today that two Chicago Public School seniors have been awarded scholarships from the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,” a program that provides financial assistance to CPS students who want to pursue construction and engineering-related college educations.

This scholarship program, created by CTA and Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, provides $5,500 each year for four years to economically disadvantaged students who plan to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) for engineering and construction-related degrees. The scholarship was launched in 2020 as part of the historic $2.1 billion RPM project.

This 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.

This year’s winners will join six other CPS students who won the scholarship in past years and are now pursuing degrees in the construction and engineering fields. Project contractor Walsh-Fluor is sponsoring the scholarships. Scholarship recipients also can apply for paid internships on the RPM project.

“Investing in our youth is a critical step to strengthening our communities,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “I congratulate our scholarship recipients who represent the best of our city and will shape our bright future. Our entire city is proud of them and their accomplishments.”

“The ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,’ reflects our city’s commitment to our future leaders,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said. “We will continue to seek innovative partnerships that increase the number of opportunities for Chicago youth.”

“We strongly believe that all CTA projects are opportunities to lift up our communities and invest in our neighbors,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Students pursuing careers in transportation, construction and engineering are important for our city and our industry, and we applaud these individuals for taking this important step toward their futures.”

“Since its inception, the ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund’ has helped shape the future of many Chicago Scholars interested in pursuing higher education or careers in the ever-evolving fields of transportation, construction and engineering. We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of the City of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools and Walsh-Fluor,” said Jeffery Beckham Jr., CEO of Chicago Scholars. “Working alongside community leaders with the common goal of supporting our Chicago Scholars is a great honor and allows us to continue carrying out our mission.”

“What makes this program unique is the ongoing support each of our scholars receives,” said Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team Project Executive Dave Shier. “We are truly invested in their success.”

“The Elevating Futures Scholarship has really helped me by supporting me financially and enabling me to further pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration & management at Loyola University Chicago,” said Axel Hernandez, a current Elevating Futures Scholarship recipient.

The 2022 CTA Elevating Futures Scholars are:

Patrick Muyenzi, 19, Rogers Park
Patrick is graduating at the top of his class at Sullivan High School, where he has taken many honors classes and received recognition for his outstanding academic performance. A student-athlete, Patrick has been an active member of the school’s soccer and volleyball teams, and he enjoys discovering the city through his involvement with the West Town Bike Program. Patrick is also engaged in his local community, having served as an intern at his alderwoman’s office, consistently sharing his professionalism and intelligence when assisting constituents. Teachers and supervisors commend Patrick’s curiosity, thoughtfulness, drive, and leadership skills.

Patrick plans to become an engineer, believing science can address almost any problem in the world. When he was younger, Patrick and his family lived in a refugee camp in Uganda after fleeing Congo for a better life. It was in the refugee camp where he taught himself how to construct a “do-it-yourself” flashlight, due to the lack of electricity there. This inspired him to pursue a degree in electrical engineering to learn how to build sustainable energy solutions. Patrick will be entering the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.

Freddy Romero, 18, Austin
Freddy Romero attends Austin College and Career Academy, where he is valedictorian of his class. A well-rounded and hardworking student, he has excelled academically and received the Austin Math, Music and Art Awards. Outside of school, he has participated in various STEM-related activities, such as Project Exploration, the EXIGENT Pre-Calculus program, After School Matters’ Woods and Walls program, Code Next and Youth Chicago Apprentice, where he currently works in repairing technology used in CPS.

Freddy’s goal is to become a mechanical engineer so he can improve technology and machinery that can assist those with disabilities. He also hopes to improve his community in the future by creating a “Re-Start” enrichment program that would enable young people to discover their paths. Freddy is held in high esteem by his teachers, who commend his character, focus, and determination. Freddy will be enrolling in the pre-engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he plans to major in mechanical engineering or computer science.

For more information about this program, visit CTA’s website or Chicago Scholars’ website.

Treasurer Frerichs Expands Access to Higher Education

Treasurer’s Office Celebrates ‘529 Day’ to Increase Awareness of 529 College Savings Plans Among All Illinois Families

On May 29, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office will celebrate ‘529 Day’ to increase awareness of the state’s highly-rated 529 College Savings plans – Bright Start and Bright Directions – in an effort to provide all Illinois families with greater access to higher education.

“We want to enable families to save for their children’s higher education and be comfortable investing their hard-earned dollars in a college savings plan,” said Michael Frerichs, Illinois State Treasurer. “We understand the desire parents have to save for their children’s future, as well as the potential apprehension to invest in college savings plans; therefore, my office has enhanced our 529 plans that offer a variety of investment options and flexibility for families.”

Treasurer Frerichs aims for all families to save for their children’s future. In Illinois, families with children are increasingly diverse. Today, hundreds of thousands of African American, Hispanic, and Asian children are enrolled in Illinois public universities and community colleges. In the future, the percentage of Illinois university and community college students from diverse backgrounds is only expected to rise. As such, the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office aims to help all families – from a wide variety of backgrounds – save for college.

Since first being elected in 2014, Treasurer Frerichs has worked to establish Bright Start and Bright Directions as two of the most accessible and affordable 529 plans in the country by cutting costs and eliminating annual account fees, minimum contributions and minimum balances.

These efforts have helped more and more Illinois families – from a range of incomes, ethnicities and races – to start saving for college. From 2015-2021, the growth rate of new IL 529 College Savings accounts opened by families making less than $30,000 annually increased by 81% and new accounts from families making $30,000-$49,000 increased by 76%. Over that same period, new accounts opened by Hispanic families increased 68% while African American new accounts increased by 51%.

To open an account, all you need is to be at least 18 years old, a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and a valid U.S. mailing address. Anyone can contribute to an account, and there are no enrollment fees, minimum contribution or minimum balance requirements to open or maintain an account. Furthermore, earnings are free from federal and state taxes if used for qualified education expenses, and up to $10,000 in contributions ($20,000 for married couples filing jointly) to an account are eligible for an Illinois income tax deduction. With Bright Start, you don’t even need a financial advisor, and it takes just approximately 10 minutes to open an account online.

To learn more about how to save for your child’s higher education through Illinois’ 29 College Savings plans, visit www.illinoistreasurer.gov. For more information about Bright Start, visit www.BrightStart.com, and for more information about Bright Directions, visit www.BrightDirections.com.

Mayor Lightfoot, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that applications are now being accepted for the third year of the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”, an innovative program that provides a path for economically disadvantaged youth to pursue education and careers in construction and engineering. 

Created in partnership with the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build team — the contractor for CTA’s historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project — the scholarship program provides aid to students who plan to pursue four-year degrees in construction management, civil engineering, industrial engineering or systems engineering.

The scholarship program provides a path for economically disadvantaged students to pursue an education in fields that historically create barriers for low-income students. The unique program provides $5,500 per year for four years, mentoring support and guidance in career development opportunities.

“As city leaders, it is our duty to invest in our youth and create opportunities for every one of our residents, regardless of their zip code or socio-economic background,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This innovative scholarship program not only generates these opportunities, but will undoubtedly develop a new generation of civic-minded industry leaders.” 

“As part of all CTA projects, we are committed to creating opportunity and inclusion for Chicagoans across the city, including students interested in careers in transportation, construction and engineering,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We are pleased to again partner with Walsh-Fluor to extend opportunities to Chicago’s youth and provide them a path to a bright future.”

“We are excited to offer members of the Class of 2022 an opportunity to apply for this scholarship to learn more about engineering and construction,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “The ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,’ reflects a city-wide commitment to our rising innovators and leaders — and our future.” 

“These scholarship recipients are getting work experience as interns in the construction and engineering fields,” Walsh-Fluor Project Executive David Shier said. “This program opens doors to deserving students to help them launch successful careers.”

“The Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund has gone above and beyond to provide our Scholars with the financial supports, mentoring and internship opportunities that will lead to long-term success in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Jeffery Beckham, Jr., Chicago Scholars CEO. “This is the premier STEM scholarship for Chicago Public School students pursuing a four-year college degree, and Chicago Scholars is proud to partner with Walsh-Fluor and the CTA to deliver best-in-class opportunities for Chicago students.”

“The Elevating Futures Scholarship has really helped me by supporting me financially and enabling me to further pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration & management at Loyola University Chicago!” said Axel Hernandez, a current Elevating Futures Scholarship recipient.

To date, six students from across the city of Chicago, including the Back of the Yards, Bridgeport, Hegewisch, Humboldt Park, and Portage Park neighborhoods, have received scholarships from the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,” which is administered by Chicago Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to college access, and college-success leadership development for first-generation and low-income students in Chicago. Scholarships have been awarded to graduates of Lake View High School, Lane Tech College Prep, Gary Comer College Prep, EPIC Academy High School, and William Jones College Prep.

To learn more about some of these students, watch this video.

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 science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) for engineering and construction-related degrees. Students who are awarded scholarships will also be eligible to apply for paid summer internships with Walsh-Fluor and the CTA. 

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

 

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What’s feeding your brain?

What media are you consuming?

Is it yummy?

Are you satisfied?

Visit this YOUmedia discussion group on Zoom to discuss your latest reads, listens, plays, and views. Movies, TV, books, video games, news, your favorite web manga: it’s all on the menu. Make recommendations and hear what others are devouring right now!

This event is hosted by Rachel and Justin at Humboldt Park, but you can join us no matter where you live!

For teens 13 to 18. Register in advance here, or if you decide to join us last minute, email mwilson12@chipublib.org and we’ll send you the Zoom invitation!

 

What’s feeding your brain?

What media are you consuming?

Is it yummy?

Are you satisfied?

Visit this YOUmedia discussion group on Zoom to discuss your latest reads, listens, plays, and views. Movies, TV, books, video games, news, your favorite web manga: it’s all on the menu. Make recommendations and hear what others are devouring right now!

This event is hosted by Rachel and Justin at Humboldt Park, but you can join us no matter where you live!

For teens 13 to 18. Register in advance here, or if you decide to join us last minute, email mwilson12@chipublib.org and we’ll send you the Zoom invitation!

 

What’s feeding your brain?

What media are you consuming?

Is it yummy?

Are you satisfied?

Visit this YOUmedia discussion group on Zoom to discuss your latest reads, listens, plays, and views. Movies, TV, books, video games, news, your favorite web manga: it’s all on the menu. Make recommendations and hear what others are devouring right now!

This event is hosted by Rachel and Justin at Humboldt Park, but you can join us no matter where you live!

For teens 13 to 18. Register in advance here, or if you decide to join us last minute, email mwilson12@chipublib.org and we’ll send you the Zoom invitation!

 

The Humboldt Park Library YOUmedia space is open to teens in grades 6-12. Feel free to bring a project to work on, or just hang out and listen to music with friends. If you’re bored, we can suggest some fun, physically distanced activities! To make sure everyone has plenty of room to practice physical distancing, capacity is limited.

For our Summer Teen Challenge: Sound Off, we have free Grab & Go kits with projects like watercolor pens, jewelry-making, and journals, and we can also connect you to the library’s virtual programming for teens.

Face coverings must be worn in the library, but if you don’t have one, a mask will be provided to you. Visits are limited to one hour when other patrons are waiting to enter the space. Please note that hours are subject to change. Feel free to call 312-744-2244 and ask to speak with Justin or Rachel if you have questions!

Calling all teens: Join us for the fifth annual ChiTeen Lit Fest!

Humboldt Park teens will be taking a bus from the Humboldt Park Library, accompanied by teen staff, and should meet up there around 10:10 AM. We will return in the evening by 6 PM. Teens who take the bus will need a signed permission slip–guardians may pick one up at the branch or sign in person on the day.

ChiTeen Lit Fest takes place Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 with guest headliners:

Come tell stories through music, art and writing, take walking tours of public art, talk to published and established writers and artists, make stuff and get insider knowledge to improve your creative skills.

ChiTeen Lit Fest is a for-teens-by-teens event that provides a safe and creative space for young adults to unlock and discover their unique voices through the literary arts. The fest brings together young people from across Chicago to celebrate their talents as they express themselves through exceptional and honest art.

For questions about Humboldt Park’s Field Trip please contact Rachel Wilson, mwilson12@chipublib.org.

Interested in bringing a group? Please contact Julie Koslowsky, jkoslowsk@chipublib.org, for further details and scheduling.

For teens 13 to 19.

Calling all writers! Bring your work to share — poems, lyrics, stories, jokes, plays — all forms of writing are welcome! We may even create some new work on the spot.

This event will be great practice if you plan to share your work at ChiTeen Lit Fest on April 25th! We’ll have permission slips on hand so you can be ready to join us on the bus to the fest.

Open to teens in grades 6-12. 

Join us in exploring environmental science! Try out Nature Sketching, Greenhouse Gardening, or build your own robot from recycled materials! We’ll be exploring Pollution and Filtration, Renewable Resources, and more …

All of these programs are inspired by the One Book, One Chicago book: THE SIXTH EXTINCTION, but you’ll have fun and learn how to take better care of our earth whether or not you’ve read the book.

Open to teens in grades 6-12.