Two Bolingbrook High School seniors have been named Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois.
Sydney Banks and Antonio Santiago were among 175 statewide recipients of the scholarship program which is designed to prepare future teachers to thrive in the challenging high-needs school environments.
“We applaud these young people for making the selfless choice to inspire and lead future generations of students through a career in education,” said Dominic Belmonte, Golden Apple president and CEO. “As teachers they will experience the reward of improving the lives of thousands of children. We know from experience that excellent teachers produce successful students and we welcome this new class of future educators with deep gratitude and enthusiasm.”
The Scholars program has been proven to profoundly improve persistence and graduation rates among participants. In addition, the program has been shown to have a significant impact on workforce development by helping students develop skills for a lasting career in teaching.
Some 83 percent of all Golden Apple Scholars successfully graduate from college each year, dramatically outpacing the national average graduation rate of 58 percent.
Eighty-four percent of Golden Apple Scholars who complete their five year commitment to teach in a school of need remain in education today vs. 44 percent of new teachers who leave their initial school within two years.
More than 665,000 students in Illinois have been taught by Golden Apple Scholars since 1989.
The 2014 class of Scholars represents a diverse group of young people from across the state of Illinois. 61% are the first in their family to attend college. 39 percent are from low income households. Fifty-six percent are people of color.
The program provides tuition assistance to each future teacher while they pursue an undergraduate education at one of 52 Illinois universities. Beginning the summer after high school graduation and continuing throughout their undergraduate years, Scholars benefit from four teaching internships, ongoing academic and career mentoring and course work on the art of teaching delivered by Golden Apple Award‐winning teachers.
When Scholars complete the program, they have acquired more than three times the classroom teaching experiences garnered by traditionally prepared teachers