Winners Announced for Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Essay Contest

Twenty-three high school students received a combined $12,000 in academic scholarships as part of an essay contest sponsored by Illinois REALTORS® to celebrate Illinois’ bicentennial. Out of more than 450 participants, a West Chicago high school sophomore, Hannah Young, won the top prize of $1,000 for her entry, reflecting the theme of “Home is Where the Heart Is.” The Wheaton Academy student wrote about the special role her childhood home played in her life. Young’s essay can be found on the association’s website. The 10-member selection committee also awarded 11 students $750 scholarships and 11 students $250 scholarships. Congratulations to Chicago’s own Miranda Dianovsky, The Chicago High School for the Arts, on her winning submission. She’ll be presented with a $250 scholarship in the coming weeks. Read her essay here.

Celebrating Illinois’ 200th birthday

The essay contest is one of several ways Illinois REALTORS®’ members are marking the state’s 200th birthday. Twenty-nine local REALTOR® associations have undertaken service projects and fundraising efforts for historic properties throughout Illinois. The Chicago Association of REALTORS® is partnering with the Peterson Garden Project to create the CAR 2018 Bicentennial Garden at Global Garden. On May 10, CAR is gathering members and other volunteers to rebuild the community garden. Volunteer here. On Aug. 26, the state association plans to open Bicentennial Plaza – A REALTOR® Community Partnership in Springfield. The pedestrian walkway which links Springfield’s historic sites will feature interpretive exhibits of people, places and events which connect with Abraham Lincoln’s vision for a nation of equal opportunity for all. The Plaza’s grand opening is a Signature Event of the state’s Bicentennial Commission’s celebration of the birthday milestone. Please see the full list of scholarship winners below. Essay finalist: $1,000
  • Hannah Young, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago
Essay finalists: $750:
  • Gabrielle Allen, Warrensburg-Latham High School, Warrensburg
  • Jade Bellairs, Woodstock High School, Woodstock
  • Bailey Brooks, Forreston Junior/Senior High School, Forreston
  • Megan Coakley, Grant Community High School, Fox Lake
  • Dillon Davey, Barrington High School, Barrington
  • Kennedy Green, Sacred Heart-Griffin, Springfield
  • Emma Nelson, homeschool student, Brookport
  • Cooper Peterson, Glenwood High School, Chatham
  • Amber Tomlin, Heyworth High School, Heyworth
  • Clare Turano, Willows Academy, Des Plaines
  • Camilla Vazquez, William Fremd High School, Palatine
Essay finalists: $250:
  • Kolten Conklen, Sterling High School, Sterling
  • Miranda Dianovsky, The Chicago High School for the Arts, Chicago
  • Sydney Minssen, Prophetstown High School, Prophetstown
  • Michael Murray, Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet
  • Cecilia Nam, Vernon Hills High School, Vernon Hills
  • MacKenzie Orozco, Belvidere North High School, Belvidere
  • Andrew Ottoson, Waterloo High School, Waterloo
  • Heidie Raine, Byron High School, Byron
  • Kylee Rus, Sterling High School, Sterling
  • Melissa Singleton, Mahomet-Seymour High School, Mahomet
  • Ashley Wagge, Manteno High School, Manteno