D123 PTA Council Announces 2024 Helen Whalen Scholarship Winners

The Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123 PTA Council’s Annual Helen Whalen Higher Education Scholarship Dinner recognized three D123 alumni on May 6 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School. The Helen Whalen $1,000 scholarship honors the legacy of a devoted PTA member and President of the D123 Board of Education, who served School District 123 for four decades. This year's winners, Anna Driscoll, Nora O’Shea, and Julia Stalzer, exemplify Helen Whalen's dedication to making children "Priority #1."

Anna Driscoll, daughter of Ken and Gayna Driscoll, will attend the University of Illinois or the Moraine Valley Honors Program while studying Chemistry. Her favorite PTA events were the Ice Cream Bingo Night at Covington and the Back to School Event at OLHMS. She remembers Mrs. Boss from Covington and Mrs. Blanchard from OLHMS for their kindness and passion for education, encouraging school to be a place to explore and dream.

Julia Stalzer, daughter of Edward and Kathleen Stalzer, is set to attend the University of Illinois Chicago and will study Industrial Design, Architecture Studies, and Photography. Her favorite PTA event memories are the elementary school Field Days and the 8th-grade Zoom dance during the COVID-19 lockdown. She credits Mrs. Eiffler at Kolmar and Mrs. McCarthy at OLHMS for supporting her during her educational journey and setting a strong foundation of skills and confidence in subjects such as mathematics and reading/writing.

Nora O’Shea, daughter of Jim and Katy O’Shea, will attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and major in Chemical Engineering. Her favorite PTA events were the St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event at Hannum and receiving 8th-grade graduation signs from OLHMS to help make her COVID graduation memorable. She recognizes Mrs. Conner from Hannum and Ms. Bleski from OLHMS for inspiring her love of learning and helping her become the best student and person she could be.

In the evening's program, the D123 PTA Council expressed appreciation for everyone involved in the 2024 Helen Whalen Scholarship process, including the Scholarship Committee, judges, and inspirational teachers who have nurtured and shaped the scholarship winners into the students and citizens they are today.

The achievements of the Helen Whalen Scholarship recipients embody the commitment to education and the pursuit of excellence inspired by the late Helen Whalen. Her unwavering dedication to children and education continues to benefit the community, with her legacy living on through these scholarships and the awardees' accomplishments.

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