Approximately 450 Rend Lake College students were awarded a total of $600,000 in scholarships and waivers this year.
Students and donors of the scholarships were honored Thursday night during the 14th annual Rend Lake College Foundation Scholarship Dinner.
Among the awards recognized Thursday were scholarships from individual donors and businesses, RLC tuition waivers and Illinois Merit Awards.
Also helping students get a head start on their community college educations, according to RLC President Mark Kern, are dual-credit classes offered at no cost to high school students, who can receive both high school and college credit for designated classes.
The RLC Board of Trustees also has passed a new initiative - The High Achievers Scholarship Award - which offers a “full ride” scholarship to high school students who have an ACT composite score of 27 or higher.
"Rend Lake College is committed to recruiting the best students and reaching the most people in our district," Kern said.
According to Illinois Community College Board statistics, RLC reaches one in seven people in its district through credit and non-credit classes, compared to the state average of one in 12. Including extra activities, college estimates project RLC reaches one in four people in the district each year, Kern said.
He noted that RLC has witnessed a 6 percent increase in enrollment this year, which is an increase over a record enrollment experienced last year.
Featured speakers at Thursday’s awards dinner included:
-- Andrea Taylor, winner of four scholarships including the Illinois Merit Scholarship, Presidential Scholastic Award, Sam Walton Community Scholarship and Herb and Chloe Weaver Scholarship. Taylor said it is her goal to own a speech pathology/audiology clinic.
-- Drew Millwood, winner of the Blake Trout Memorial Scholarship and a baseball player for RLC’s Warriors. Millwood hopes to coach football and baseball at the high school or college level.
-- Steve Holman, faculty sponsor of RLC’s Marine Biology Travel Club. The Foundation gave additional financial support to eight students to study marine biology with Holman and Dr. Sue Tomlin, RLC Anthropology and Sociology Professor, in Jamaica.
-- Dr. Evelyn Claxton, retired RLC Arts and Communications Department Chair and faculty member, Institute for Learning in Retirement Instructor and contributor to the Foundation’s scholarship program. In 1986, she endowed a scholarship that provides funds for the Best of Show Award at the college’s annual art show (coming up November 14). Jennifer Coffey was the recipient of this year’s award. She displays exceptional talent in photography and expects to open her own studio next year.
"These young people are our future generation and you have made it possible to help them succeed," Pat Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, told the contributors.