A full 22 percent of Gillespie High School (GHS) graduating seniors were awarded $1,000 tuition scholarships by The Partnership for Educational Excellence as the education foundation enters is second quarter century. These awards also mark the quarter million dollar level for scholarships since The Partnership’s founding in 1992. Every dollar of these awards came from local individuals, businesses, alums, and foundations. Thanks to a generous response to last year’s 25th anniversary fund drive, $25,000 was raised to support the increase of its scholarships from $500 to $1,000 for each awardee.
EMIL BORGINI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Emil Borgini’s career as an educator included time as a teacher of English, history and French in Benld and in Gillespie. He also served as principal of GHS for 20 years and concluded his career as district superintendent. For many years an anonymous donor made this award possible. Mark C. Cunningham, Jr., son of the late Mark Cunningham and the late Mabel Teller, will study to become a teacher of English at the secondary level at Illinois College at Jacksonville.
JENE “BEAVER” BROWN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP His family have established this scholarship to honor a local miner who was “the biggest Miner fan ever”. Jene was an avid sports fan from an early age, playing basketball, football, and baseball at GHS. He attended Bradley University and Shurtleff College before coming home to work, play fast pitch softball, referee basketball, and cheer his children and grandchildren on CUSD7 playing fields. Rylee Jarman, daughter of Shane and Jodi Jarman of rural Mt. Olive, will study to become an anesthesiologist assistant at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
ELINOR DAVIES NURSING SCHOLARSHIP Established by friends and family – husband Larry and sons Mike and Tim and their families – in honor of Elinor who served many decades as school nurse in CUSD7. She was also an active member of the Gillespie First United Methodist Church. Madolyn Wyatt, daughter of Jim and Kasey Wyatt of Gillespie, plans to study nursing or occupational therapy at Lewis and Clark Community College.
CAROL ENRICO DE LUCCA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR A TOP GIRL GRADUATE Family and friends endowed the award in memory of this Benld native who was a respected educator and counselor. The daughter of Rose Enrico, Carol established a consulting business to help students pursue their goals through higher education. Her daughters Allison and Ashley live in California. Madison Hedrick, daughter of Bruce and Lynette Hedrick of Gillespie, will pursue fashion studies at Columbia College in Chicago.
ROGER DEWITT MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP An outpouring of memorials for this popular and talented farmer, painter, horse breeder, horticulturist, and musician led his wife Vicki to establish this award. Music – song writing and performing with his band Southern Blend – was the backdrop of his first career as a farmer and second career as an artist. Self-taught, he came to art in mid life and developed a passion for depicting the disappearing culture of the rural Midwest and small family farm life. Hannah Trumpy, daughter of Toni and Jamie Trumpy of Gillespie, will attend Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, to major in architecture.
ANDREW EASTON, JR. MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP. A teacher and coach for more than 20 years, his passion was to motivate his students and athletes to achieve to their highest level. He was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the group that funded this scholarship. Lindsey Miller, daughter of Donald “Sam” and Ann Miller of rural Carlinville, will major in business or accounting at Southern Illinois University.
GIL AND MARY JEAN HEBENSTREIT SCHOLARSHIP “We want to encourage young people to pursue their goals through education,” say the Hebenstreits in establishing this annual scholarship in 2018. After they moved to the area in 1961, they established a series of local businesses including a funeral home in Gillespie, furniture stores in Gillespie, Benld, Auburn, and Edwardsville, an Anheuser Busch beer distributorship in Benld , and also a number rental apartments. They are the parents of Mary Louise, Gene, and Margie Brill. John Wyatt, son of Chester and Dionne Wyatt of Benld, will attend Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville to major in accounting.
KATHY HEINZ MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP The Gillespie High School Class of 1983 established this scholarship in memory of their beloved classmate Kathy Heinz. Kathy was a talented speech pathologist especially dedicated to helping the elderly and stroke victims regain speech proficiency to restore quality of life and relationships with their families. Kathy lost her life in a tragic accident in 2018. Breanne Mull, daughter of Christy Spencer and George Mull of Gillespie, will study speech and language pathology at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri.
JULIA KRAVANYA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Born in Scotland, she married Anton J. Kravanya in1942 in Gillespie. They raised daughter Fran and son Tony, who operates Kravanya Funeral Homes with his son Anthony and daughter Lyn. Another son Nicholas is a dentist in Carlinville. Lexie Bussmann, daughter of Ryan and Melissa Bussmann of Gillespie, will attend Lewis and Clark Community College to become an occupational therapy assistant.
E. LIBBRA FAMILY FARM SCHOLARSHIP Married for 48 years, Joe and Eileen Libbra were hard working grain and livestock farmers and dedicated to their four children: Mary Sievers, Joe, Trish Elking, and Carol Kramer, who maintain this scholarship. Andrew Gill, son of Bill and Ruth Gill of rural Carlinville, will major in business and accounting at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville..
HENRY MARCACCI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Henry taught business in CUSD7 for 33 years and also served as county school superintendent for eight years. He and his wife Lucille raised seven children; all attended CUSD7 schools. He died at age 101. Drew Timmermeier, son of Jeffrey and Tracy Timmermeier of rural Litchfield, will attend Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville to major in mass communications.
JEANETTE SMALL MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Her family has chosen to honor her memory with this scholarship to support the students of CUSD7 where her grandchildren attend school. Grace Martin, daughter of Curt Martin and Cheryl Stinnett of Gillespie, will major in business administration at Lewis and Clark Community College.
TURCOL-TIBURZI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP by family. Matt and Marge Turcol and Mac and Helen Tiburzi’s children, Susan Turcol and Dennis Tiburzi, have combined their families’ memorial scholarships to honor parents who valued education. Both Susan and Dennis became teachers. Jack Jarman, son of Troy and Stacy Jarman of Benld, will study electrical engineering at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale..
UMWA Local 1613 SCHOLARSHIP The union represents coal miners, health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing employees and public employees in our communities. UMWA 1613 fights for safe workplaces, good wages and benefits, and fair representation in workplaces. Trenton Segarra, son of Robert and Kimberly Segarra of Dorchester, will attend Lewis and Clark Community College to study electrical engineering.
MICHAEL VALENTI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP This 1994 GHS graduate lost his life in a 1999 tragic accident. Michael had earned an associates degree at Lewis and Clark Community College and was continuing his education at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Megan Bray, daughter of Cynthia and Josh Bray of Benld, will attend Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville to study secondary education, possibly in biology and history.
VFW POST 4547 SCHOLARSHIPS The Partnership is pleased to offer a scholarship for a child or grandchild of a U.S. military veteran and/or a student who has committed to ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) in college. This scholarship is the result of a generous gift from the now disbanded Gillespie VFW Post 4547. Kennen Bertolis, son of Lelia and Kenny Bertolis of Benld, will attend Lewis and Clark Community College to prepare for a career teaching history. Kennen’s father, Kenny Bertolis, was in the U.S. Army and later National Guard and was deployed to the Middle East.
EVALINE BOEHMKE MUSICIANSHIP AWARDS: Evaline (Mrs. Robert) Boehmke, was an ardent supporter of music in CUSD7. She left a bequest for $100 cash awards for students to be selected by the music faculty of GHS for outstanding musicianship in band and chorus. This year the Band winner is Jasmine McFadden, daughter of Kevin and Mary McFadden of Gillespie, and the Chorus winner is Juliann Hendricks, daughter of Wade and Fab Hendricks of Gillespie.
The Partnership for Educational Excellence is an IRS-chartered 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational foundation in Community Unit School District 7 in Macoupin County, Illinois. In addition to scholarships, The Partnership annually awards classroom grants to enhance curriculum. To donate or learn more about The Partnership, contact us at: www.thepartnership7.org where you can review biographies of several past scholars. Or contact us at P.O. Box 125, Gillespie IL 62033, and please like us on Facebook.