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updated: 7/14/2014 5:08 PM

Covenant Retirement Communities awards college scholarships to local students

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C. Claxton

Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit senior services providers, awarded college scholarship money totaling $3,775 to two local students.

Christine Thomas, a 2014 graduate of Glenbard West High School, Glen Ellyn, Ill., and resident of Glendale Heights, Ill., was awarded a $2,500 scholarship to fund her education at Loyola University, Chicago, where she plans to study pre-medicine.

Vanessa Cohn, a 2014 graduate of Wheaton North High School and resident of Carol Stream, was awarded a $1,275 scholarship to help fund her college plan to study elementary education. Vanessa is the first in her family to attend college.

The scholarships are two of eight -- totaling $15,000 -- awarded to Covenant Retirement Communities employees and their dependents. Christine's mother, Sally, and Vanessa's mother, Juanita, are both certified nursing assistants at Windsor Park, a faith-based, nonprofit, continuing care retirement community administered by CRC.

"By sponsoring scholarships for employees and their dependents, we are helping each individual grow," says Deborah Tate, Covenant Retirement Communities vice president of human resources. "Covenant Retirement Communities is dedicated to individual development and fulfillment. The scholarships underscore that key commitment."

A selection committee received 55 applications from its communities nationwide and based awards on educational and career pursuits consistent with CRC values; an essay demonstrating a defined educational/career goal; and the student's involvement in extracurricular activities.

During high school, Christine volunteered at Lutheran Home, Marklund Homes, Northern Illinois Food Bank and Angel Tree. She also served as a vacation Bible school camp counselor. At Glenbard West High School, she participated in the forensics club and belonged to Students for Students, Good Vibes, West Students for the Disabled and West Spirit.

During high school, Vanessa worked at Windsor Park as a dietary aide; she also baby-sat, taught dance and tutored. She volunteered each Sunday as a Sunday school teacher's aide and with the Front Door Ministry at Wheaton Bible Church. At Wheaton North High School, Vanessa was a member of the marching band and color guard. In addition to holding a student leadership position, she belonged to the Spanish Honor Society and the Math Honor Society.

"Both of these young women were stellar students and philanthropists at heart," says Karen Larson, executive director at Windsor Park. "Their essays were thoughtful, and they reflected the focus and maturity of students committed to making a positive contribution. For Christine, it's becoming a pediatric cardiologist; for Vanessa, it's becoming a teacher."

About Windsor Park

Windsor Park, a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community, is located at 124 Windsor Park Dr., Carol Stream, Ill. It is administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit senior services providers. Covenant Retirement Communities serves 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities nationwide and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on Windsor Park, call 877-836-5664 or visit For information on Covenant Retirement Communities, visit