Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Scholarship

The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation is proud to offer multiple scholarships with a total value of $50,000 to Illinois high school seniors of the class of 2022.  In remembering Kelli Joy, the foundation seeks exceptionally caring and compassionate students who have demonstrated kindness in their communities.  

To apply, students complete a 500-word essay along with two recommendations from a coach, teacher, or community sponsor.  Interested students should carefully review the application requirements and deadlines located below.  Financial need is considered for a subset of the scholarships.

“Reading the applications brings so much joy and optimism,” said Melissa Douglas, KJO Board Member. “I see Kelli’s spirit reflected in everyone from the senior swimmer that took a nervous freshman under his wing to the young leader starting a new club at her school.” 

Over the past 10 years, 88 graduates have already received scholarships from the foundation.  The scholarships are renewable for 4 years, allowing students stability as they progress through their education.  The foundation is proud to have helped several students be the first in their families to attend college.  Other winners have been able to attend a dream school that would have otherwise been out of reach financially.   The scholarships also provide a way for the foundation to demonstrate caring and compassion to students experiencing hardship, such as the loss of a parent. 

The scholarships will be awarded in the spring.

Requirements for all categories are:

  • Participation in a high school sport for at least 3 of 4 years

  • A 500-word essay described on the application form

  • Two recommendations from Coach, Teacher or Community Sponsor

  • Community Service Requirement (50 hours) for the financial need recipients.

  • The foundation hopes the recipients can fulfill this requirement with our foundation, but we will accept other documented service hours.

For 2022, that is scholarships with a total value of $50,000!


Deadline for Student Application: 11 PM, Friday, February 11th, 2022. 

Deadline for Recommendations:   10 PM, Wednesday, February 16th, 2022.

If you intend to apply for the financial need Scholarship please be available over the weekend of March 13th and also submit your proof of financial need (via the application form). We will contact the students the week of March 8th.

Interviews will be held via a Zoom call or similar method. We are requiring a phone number for all who declare a financial need to facilitate the interview process.

Renewal in future years requires maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

Click here for the Scholarship Application

Applications & recommendations are only accepted via this website and not accepted via any other means.

Click here for the Recommendations info page