Brian E. Wagner Scholarship awarded to four recipients

Since Brian Edwin Wagner’s untimely death in a tragic auto accident at age 16, his life story and legacy have contributed to the well-being of many young lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Emerging young leaders who are selected for the scholarship that bears his name receive $2,500 toward their college tuition for their admirable qualities and potential to lead the way among their peers.

Brian was the quintessential model of compassion who served as an example through his service toward others. His commitment to making a difference in all his endeavors is the inspiration behind the nonprofit organization that was founded in his memory.

The mission of the Brian E. Wagner Scholarship Fund is to encourage high school students to make a positive impact in their lives and the lives of others by exercising sound judgment and committing themselves to volunteer programs. The cause is alive and thriving in the community.

Four recipients were selected for this year’s honor. Next year will mark the fund’s 15th year. So far the scholarship has donated more than $105,000 in college tuition funding to numerous deserving scholars.

More information about the cause and application process can be found at They encourage all high school seniors to apply for the privilege to be named next year’s honorees. There is no GPA requirement to receive this award.

Information about this year’s recipients are as follows:

• Michaela Quinn (York High School) was accepted to the University of Indiana, Bloomington and will major in nursing. She stated, “I am so beyond thankful and blessed to receive the BEW Scholarship as it will greatly help my future education later in my life. Just like Brian, I strive to do my best in everything. I will continue to serve as a leader as I take on the next chapter of my life running cross country and track at Indiana University. At IU, I will serve by bringing up my new teammates and acting as a role model both in and out of athletics for those who look up to me. Brian’s devotion to family, friends, and God is a true representation of the people I will continue to serve every single day.”

• Kelsey McDonough (Immaculate Conception College Prep) will attend Illinois State university and major in elementary education. She plans to study abroad in England during one of her upcoming semesters. She commented, “This scholarship means so much to my family and I. Just as I did in high school I intend to continue my example of leadership. In college, I will be involved in club sports and service opportunities toward my college community. By being resilient, humble, and kind I will give back just like Brian E. Wagner Scholarship does.”

• Matea O’Donnell (Immaculate Conception College Prep) is committed to attend University of Dayton and major in political science with plans to enter law school thereafter. She remarked, “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor as it provides recognition of my academic achievements and potential. This motivates me to continue leading by example in the things that I value. As a scholarship recipient, I intend to continue serving by actively engaging in my studies, participating in extracurricular activities, and contributing positively to my community. This scholarship inspires me to strive for excellence in all aspects of my life!”

• Jorge Zapata (Immaculate Conception College Prep) enrolled at Colorado State University and will pursue studies in computer information systems. He said, “Receiving the Brian E. Wagner Fund scholarship award holds significant meaning for me as it not only acknowledges my academic accomplishments but also affirms my dedication to community service. This award underscores the organization’s confidence in my potential, motivating me to pursue excellence both in and outside of school. During this journey, I remain committed to all avenues of leadership.

Apart from attending university, I will be participating in collegiate road cycling and involving myself in several campus clubs focused on business, software, and linguistics. Additionally, I intend to grow technically in the software realm by pursuing internships throughout my college experience, with the aim of expanding opportunities post-graduation.”

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