Eight Round Lake High School seniors in a special scholarship program are headed to some of the most selective colleges in the country, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ivy League's Dartmouth College.
Those Round Lake Area Unit District 116 students are Schuler Scholars. They and seniors from other schools in the Schuler program celebrated their higher education future at a decision day party May 1 at the foundation's office near Lake Forest.
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To qualify for the Schuler Scholar program, students must earn a minimum 3.0 grade-point average after their freshman year of high school and be involved in leadership or community service activities. The pupils often are the first in their families to attend college, and for whom higher education would be unlikely without financial assistance.
On the list for the Round Lake High seniors are MIT, Dartmouth, Swarthmore College, Hamilton College, Franklin and Marshall College, Kalamazoo College and Muhlenberg College.
Eli Rollman, a Schuler Scholar director assigned to Round Lake High, said this year's class is a "particularly impressive group of young people."
"I have no doubt they will all be successful wherever they go and represent Schuler and Round Lake in a way of which we can all be proud," he said.
Gilberto Mota Jr. is the first Schuler Scholar from Round Lake High to be accepted into MIT, Rollman said. Mota and Daisy Ruiz-Gil, who's headed to the Ivy League's Dartmouth, spent six weeks last summer at MIT's elite Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program.
Meanwhile, a Schuler Scholar who's graduating from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., will return to Round Lake High as a program representative. Melissa Larson will be an AmeriCorps scholar coach working with Schuler program students.
"I want to do my part to ensure that these scholars realize that an infinite number of opportunities (exist) for them beyond high school," Larson said.
Investor Jack Schuler, a former Abbott Laboratories executive, started the scholarship program in 2001. Round Lake High became part of it in 2006.
Rollman said the Schuler Scholar link with District 116 became stronger for the 2013-14 academic season. He said the program there now has a full-time math and science coach, while communication with parents has improved through a quarterly newsletter now in Spanish and English.