We awarded the fifth KJO Memorial Scholarship of 2019 to Grace Kennedy of Hinsdale Central HS.  

The value of this scholarship is $1,500 annually, renewable for 4 years. All recipients must maintain a B average in college. This is a category 1 scholarship.


For more information on the scholarship requirements and award values, please see our information page here. 

Sports and Activities in High School:

Grace played 3 years of varsity tennis and one year on the JV team.  Grace also play 1 year of JV badminton and 2 years of varsity badminton 

Highlights from the Essay:

“We play for the JOY of the game, the JOY of winning, & always for Kelli JOY”; reads the shirt awarded after we won the doubles in the KJO Memorial tennis tournament in 2016, my introduction to Kelli’s foundation.   Coach Dave Evans of Western Springs Park District came up with this wonderful saying.  He was one of Kelli’s coaches and remembers her every year with this tournament.

Grace essay continues “A fractured ankle over winter break sophomore year that required surgery and physical therapy left me returning to school with a boot, a leg scooter, and a new class schedule. I rolled to my new cooking class and sat in a group with special needs students. Timidly at first, I spoke to these students a few times. Over time, I eventually felt more confident in my skills to step in and help the students. As the semester progressed, I looked forward to cooking class not only for the different pastries but also to be with these students. Though injury sidelined me for badminton season, given my experience with these special students in cooking class, I volunteered to become a coach for our Special Olympics track team. Each year since, I increased my involvement working with these students by joining Peer Buddies, Adaptive PE, Foundations of Cooking, Special Olympics Basketball and, most recently, being a Pre-Vocational Aide.”

Highlights from the Recommendations:

Each year of her high school career, Grace has participated in Hinsdale Central’s large Key Club organization as an Executive Board member. Starting from Freshman Class Representative to Statistical Secretary, and as Vice President and President during her Junior and Senior years, respectively. Key Club is an international student-led service organization. The core values of this organization are leadership, character building, caring, and inclusiveness. These core values also apply to her other roles working with her peers with disabilities. 

We are happy to add Grace Kennedy to the ranks of KJO Memorial Scholarship recipients for 2019. Congratulations Grace!