May 1st, 2018.  We are pleased and proud to announce the first scholarship for the class of 2018. This is for one of the financial need-based scholarships.  We interviewed six candidates and we had so much trouble selecting two that we selected three and split one of the $5,000 annual scholarships in half!  For all the information on the KJO Memorial Scholarships offered in 2018 click here.

To honor Kelli’s memory, we award college scholarships to graduating high school seniors whose work and character reflect Kelli’s spirit.

One member of the Amundsen HS class of 2018 has been selected to receive the KJO Memorial Scholarship. A $2500 annual scholarship renewable for four years annually renewable for four years provided the recipient maintains a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0. A $10,000 value in total!  This is the first time a Chicago Public HS student has received a KJO Memorial Scholarship!

Kelli Joy was known throughout her brief, beautiful life for living up to her name – spreading “JOY” to others, whether it was saving up to help children in other parts of the world or simply asking a boy sitting alone in the cafeteria to join her lunch table.

Kelli played tennis, so we ask the recipient to play a sport for at least 3 out of 4 years. She was a solid student, so we ask the recipient to have a 3 out of 4 unweighted GPA. Kelli was kind and compassionate and loved to help others. So we ask the recipient to write an essay on how they helped others.

Our winner today overcame obstacles to maintain a solid GPA, was an active participant in track and gave back to her community through several service projects. She shares Kelli’s love for travel and helping others. Her application describes her dream of someday starting an international nonprofit organization, possibly one to empower women and girls.

Her glowing recommendations included examples of her hard work and dedication. But what made her really stand out was the mention of how she quietly looks out for others and how she often included classmates that were left out.

From one of her recommendations:  “In middle school, Myreanna was always the kid quietly looking out for others. She took care of her siblings when her parents couldn’t, and she included classmates who were left out by others.  In high school, Myreanna has traveled abroad for two service trips, and she is active in student volunteer clubs at school.”

The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation Scholarship recipient from Amundsen High School is Myreanna Smith (left).  Pictured with Melissa Douglas, Kelli’s sister (in-law).