It might have been more challenging in the early years to find applicants for the Tyler Brett Caruso Memorial Scholarship.
That's no longer the case.
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This year, Marilyn Caruso said there were not only a record number of applicants, and many of them more than fit the qualities of a graduating senior the scholarship seeks to honor.
And it's those qualities Caruso is looking forward to honoring at the annual Tyler Brett Caruso Memorial Concert Thursday night.
This will be the 11th year of the concert. It began in honor of Tyler Caruso, a sort of renaissance man of a student at St. Charles East who participated in wind ensemble, football and student council in addition to being an excellent scholar. He died unexpectedly in 2002.
The same level of school and community participation is expected of scholarship recipients. With the three recipients that will receive scholarships this year, a total of 31 St. Charles East and North High School seniors have received the award.
More than 45 students applied for the scholarships this year. Two students from St. Charles East will receive a scholarship. One student from St. Charles North will receive the award. The recipients will be announced and honored at the concert.
The scholarship is funded, in part, by donations collected at the annual concert, T-shirt sales and other fundraisers.
The concert, always in late May, features seven local acts. This year, the music will include vocal performances, musicians, a jazz band and, for the first time, a rapper.
Marilyn Caruso, Tyler's mother, said the concert has begun to develop such a positive reputation that there is a waiting list of acts for the first time.
"It really says a lot about the concert," she said. "We still have people calling us even now asking if they can perform.
The idea for this concert stems from Tyler's dreams of bringing the kids from both high schools together after the main high school split in 2000. He thought they had enough rivalry on the field."
There will also be a special silent auction at the concert. A local student is set to appear on the reality TV show "Cake Boss." She will be making a cake that will be auctioned off at the concert.
The concert is free, though donations are welcome. The concert will run from 7 to 9 p.m. in Lincoln Park at Fourth and Main streets in downtown St. Charles. In the event of inclement weather, the concert would be moved to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St.
For more information, call (630) 513-6200.