May 06, 2011
Fifteen Galesburg eighth-graders are the newest inductees of the George Washington Gale Scholars Program, which provides academic support and mentoring for academically talented, first-generation, income-eligible students, paving the way for them to get a tuition-free college education.
Students who meet the program's requirements, including community service, receive tuition waivers toward completion of an associate's degree at Carl Sandburg College and a bachelor's degree at Knox College. Students who are highly academically successful may qualify to enter Knox College directly from Galesburg High School.
An induction ceremony for the 15 new Gale Scholars -- the Class of 2015 -- took place on May 3 at the George Washington Gale House in Galesburg. Speakers at the ceremony included Gale Scholars currently at the high school, CSC, and Knox, as well as Knox College President Roger Taylor (shown in photo above, speaking to students).
The program's director, Les Hunter, told the students they are getting "a ticket to opportunity."
Knox College senior Kristin Niehoff, who has been a Gale Scholar for eight years, congratulated the students with an original poem, written in the style of the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Here is an excerpt:
"Congratulations! Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose!
"You have the chance to be great, the chance to grow.
You have this scholarship now, and great people to know!"
Taylor told the new Gale Scholars that the program will lead them toward a bright future.
"The education that you will receive as a Gale Scholar, at Carl Sandburg and Knox, will give you the flexibility to compete successfully in this world, no matter what you end up doing," he said. "The education that you will receive as a result of being a Gale Scholar also will give you a life of privilege that you otherwise would not enjoy."
The George Washington Gale Scholars program is a collaborative partnership among Galesburg Public Schools District 205, Carl Sandburg College, and Knox College.
Created in 1996, the program enhances academic preparation and encourages the academic aspirations of talented young people. It has been designated a "Best Practice" by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and by the Illinois Association of School Boards.
This year's Gale Scholar inductees are:
Bryce Fenton, MayCee Fox, Ashleah Hainline, Trinity Hathaway, Denzel Haywood, Sabrina Keith, Jordonna Kidd, Erin Mallory, Tallen McWilliams, Makaliah Mitchell, Destiny Plowman, Teresa Ricks, Easton Salsman, Antoine Starks, and Ryan Wood.
(Photo at left: The 15 new Gale Scholars with current Gale Scholars Cassie Harrell and Dallas Hendrickson, at far left, and Kristin Niehoff and Estafania Vazquez, at far right. Also shown are program director Les Hunter, third from left, Galesburg District 205 Superintendent Gene Denisar, fourth from left, Carl Sandburg College President Lori Sundberg, fourth from right in front row, and Knox College President Roger Taylor, third from right.)