Ten Galesburg junior high school students are the newest participants in the George Washington Gale Scholars Program, a partnership among Knox College, Carl Sandburg College, and Galesburg School District 205 that offers select students a path to a free college education.
The Gale Scholars Program offers personalized guidance and mentoring during high school and college, and free college tuition scholarships to Carl Sandburg College and Knox College for academically promising and income-eligible youth within Galesburg District 205 who would be the first in their families to attend college.
The newest Gale Scholars, like their older counterparts, will participate in summer enrichment and academic preparation, community service, and special skill-building experiences. Students who successfully complete the program in high school receive tuition-waiver scholarships toward the completion of associate's and bachelor's degree programs at Carl Sandburg College and Knox, respectively.
The 10 students, known as the Class of 2023 for the year they’ll graduate from high school, were honored at an induction ceremony on Thursday, May 16, on the Knox College campus.
“We are really looking forward to seeing you in the years to come,” Knox College President Teresa Amott told the students, families, and guests at the ceremony.
Amott, who was the guest speaker at the event, called the Gale Scholars Program “an amazing opportunity” and “the best of Galesburg.”
“We want you to be successful,” she added. “We’re asking you to give your all.”
Three older Gale Scholars—one each from Galesburg High School, Carl Sandburg College, and Knox College—also spoke at the induction ceremony, offering advice and insight. Tavian James of GHS, Jessica Decker of Sandburg, and MayCee Fox of Knox praised the younger students for their achievements so far and encouraged them to keep working hard to make the most of their opportunities.
“To me, a person’s future hides behind a door,” said Fox, a creative writing major who described the Gale Scholars Program as a key. “Use this key as you choose, and use it to help open your door to achievements. From today forward, Gale Scholars will be one of your keys for success.”
Steve Cheesman, director of the Gale Scholars Program, noted that the new scholars are impressive and academically accomplished. The 10 students were selected from 50 applicants, and they have a cumulative grade point average of 3.92, which translates to nearly all A’s, he said.
“This is going to be a wonderful ride as we go forward,” Cheesman said.
The Gale Scholars Program is named after the Rev. George Washington Gale, the founder of Galesburg and Knox College. It has been recognized by the Illinois Board of Higher Education as an exemplary "best practice," designed to address the growing number of youth who, because of socio-economic barriers, often don't have opportunities to realize their full potential as scholars and future leaders.
The new George Washington Gale Scholars are:
- Javier Campos-Claeys
- Faith George
- Miah Johnson
- Mary Avery Ketterman
- Hilary Marvine Molomangi
- Jason Ponciano
- Sariah Simmons
- Jordan Sperry
- Mackenzie Temple
- Kaidence Wilson
Photo at top of page: Knox College President Teresa Amott speaks at the Gale Scholars induction ceremony. Photo below: The newest Gale Scholars with officials from Knox College, Carl Sandburg College, and Galesburg School District 205.