Aidan Pelletier, who discovered progressive methods to share the reward of music together with his church and its youngest members, is the first-place winner of the 2023 Niebuhr Service to Society Scholarship Competitors.
In the course of the awards ceremony held earlier this month, Pelletier, a senior at Grayslake Central Excessive College in Grayslake, Sick., was awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend Elmhurst College.
The second-place winner is Elizabeth Vazquez, a senior at Proviso Arithmetic and Science Academy in Forest Park, who was awarded a $10,000 renewable scholarship to attend Elmhurst.
This yr, a document 214 college students entered the Niebuhr Service to Society Scholarship Competitors, which celebrates college students with a ardour for service to their communities and the world. The individuals, all admitted Elmhurst college students, come from throughout the Midwest and as far west as Colorado; and globally, from Mexico, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan.
Within the first spherical of the competitors, candidates have been requested to submit a video in regards to the methods through which they contribute to constructive change of their neighborhood. The second spherical was held on March 4 on campus, and included group tasks and the awards ceremony. It was the primary time for the reason that begin of the COVID-19 pandemic that the competitors and awards ceremony have been held in particular person, though the occasion additionally was livestreamed in order that out-of-state and worldwide college students may take part.
In his video, Pelletier described rising up in his church, La Inglesia, in Mundelein, Sick. As slightly boy, he took music classes there that modified his life. As he bought older, he paid it ahead by enjoying piano throughout church providers and giving free music classes to different children within the church who couldn’t afford them in any other case.
After 4 years of instructing, and giving greater than 500 hours of classes, he organized a few of his college students right into a worship band. Then the pandemic hit “and compelled us to cancel the whole lot,” he mentioned.
Refusing to look at the band’s progress deteriorate, Pelletier moved his classes on-line and labored creatively to maintain them partaking. Sufficient children caught with it to permit the band to renew a yr later. The expertise “has reworked me and my college students,” mentioned Pelletier, who plans to check music enterprise at Elmhurst.
“Each time he performs, he evokes me,” mentioned his pastor, Homero Garcia. “Aidan has blessed me, my household, our church and our complete neighborhood, and I actually imagine he can even bless and impression your school in a really constructive means too.”
In her video, second-place winner Elizabeth Vazquez, of Hillside, Sick., mentioned her uncle taught her that “her social justice isn’t left to probability; it’s what we determine to make of it.” So together with his assist, she turned his tire store in Mexico right into a charitable group that helps impoverished individuals get again on their toes, and in addition works with youngsters who’ve restricted entry to schooling.
Winners of the digital group service undertaking, which occurred on March 4, embrace:
- Angelina Calvillo, from Chicago, Sick.
- Nathan Devitt, from Bloomingdale, Sick.
- Emily Fanella, from Elk Grove Village, Sick.
- Stephanie Figueroa, from Darien, Sick.
- Gabrielle Fisher, from Spherical Lake Seaside, Sick.
- Sofija Galanto, from Skokie, Sick.
Every member acquired a $3,000 Niebuhr Service to Society Group Award. All college students who entered the competitors and attended the scholarship occasion acquired a $1,000 Niebuhr Grant, which will be added to beforehand awarded benefit scholarships and/or grants.
Elmhurst College launched the Niebuhr Service to Society Scholarship Competitors in 2019 to acknowledge and reward potential Elmhurst college students with a major curiosity in service, each as a component of their school search and of their wider ambitions.
The Niebuhr Service to Society Scholarship Competitors is called for theologians Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, two of Elmhurst College’s most esteemed alumni. The Niebuhrs’ dedication to scholarship, service and social justice informs the College’s mission, and Elmhurst seeks college students motivated to rework their communities in keeping with the Niebuhr brothers’ teachings.