McHenry High School graduate credits graphics scholarship for turning around her 2020

  • Autumn Mercure, a McHenry High School Class of 2020 graduate, is helping to promote the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation program by wearing the custom shirt for scholarship recipients. Mercure earned a $3,000-a-year scholarship through the organization.

    Autumn Mercure, a McHenry High School Class of 2020 graduate, is helping to promote the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation program by wearing the custom shirt for scholarship recipients. Mercure earned a $3,000-a-year scholarship through the organization. Courtesy of Autumn Mercure

 
 
Updated 2/26/2021 7:45 PM

Last spring, Autumn Mercure was a little uneasy about the future. A member of McHenry High School's Class of 2020, she was finishing school remotely and worried about the continuing impact of COVID-19.

Then in June, while she was doing some summer work with the school's Print Shop (known as Warriors Ink), the full-service graphics department at McHenry High School, she got the big news.

 

She had been awarded a scholarship through the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation.

"I screamed," she recalled. "It was a sight to be seen, I'm sure."

The $3,000-a-year award not only meant she'd have help paying for college, but she wouldn't have to work during a global pandemic, allowing her to focus on school.

In December, she finished her first semester at McHenry County College with a 4.0-grade-point average and a plan to eventually further her graphics communications education at Illinois State University.

"This scholarship changed so much for me," said Mercure, who started in graphics as a freshman and continued through Graphics Seminar her senior year. Students create designs and print them on signs, shirts, and wraps.

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She credits industrial technology Instructors Matt Connor and James Nelson, who is also a past recipient of the award, for the help and support. Teachers encourage students to apply for the scholarship each year, and this is the first time a McHenry High School student received it.

Students also annually participate in student conventions and competitions. In addition, Mercure received a scholarship through the annual McHenry High School Manufacturing, Trades and Industry Expo.

"Autumn is an incredible person and incredible student. They couldn't have picked a better person for this award," Connor said.

The graphics students are required to keep an online portfolio of their work, and Mercure said that was a huge help in applying for scholarships. One of Mercure's designs was used as Class of 2020 signs to celebrate individual graduation ceremonies last June.

"It was so nice to be able to contribute to the one-on-one graduation, and see my own work," Mercure said.

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