Scholarships created in memory of lost students

Sam Bull and Aleksandra Glowik

Over the years, the Downers Grove community has experienced the losses of several DGN students. On several occasions, scholarships in these students’ names have been created by the families and are available to current students, in attempt to preserve their legacies and provide opportunity for future students. Most recently, Elizabeth Dunlap’s family has created the Elizabeth Dunlap Scholarship to honor Beth and her impact on the school and community. 

About a year after her passing, Dunlap’s family has created a scholarship in her name. Dunlap was a 3-year member of the girls’ varsity volleyball team and had plans to continue her career at the collegiate level. Varsity volleyball coach Mark Wasik highlighted her competitive spirit as a great aspect of her personality.

“She’s one of the most competitive players I’ve ever coached, which aligned with her personality,” Wasik said. “She was feisty, competitive, and a great teammate.” 

According to Principal Janice Schwarze, “the scholarship will be awarded to 1-4 students, depending on the pool of candidates. Applications are due March 25 and students that are chosen will be announced at the awards night ceremony on May 6.” 

To apply for the scholarship, students must plan to attend a 4-year college, have been athletes, show the need for financial aid, and have proven to be good citizens within the Downers Grove community.

Another scholarship created in the wake of tragedy that is available to students at DGN is the Mark Bliss Jr. Memorial Scholarship. Bliss was to be a 2018 graduate, who passed away his freshman* year in 2015. 

Special services teacher Kimberly Hartsfield, who knew Bliss during his time at DGN, mentioned his bright spirit and positive personality.

“He was a super funny kid. Very social, outgoing, and could make anyone laugh,” Hartsfield said. “He loved his Dunkin’ Donuts and would come into class almost everyday with it.”

The scholarship was created by the Bliss family in 2018, and can be applied for by graduating seniors who plan to continue their education at a 4-year college, junior college, or trade school. 

College and Career Counselor Teri Manderino stressed that these scholarships provide the opportunity for the memory and positive impact of their lives to be spread to others.

“While losing students is tragic for our community, these scholarships serve to offer a ray of light coming from that person’s life and being transferred to another,” Manderino said.

*In the Omega’s February print issue, it was written that Bliss passed away his sophomore year. That error has been fixed on this story online and its correction will be published in the Omega’s March issue. We sincerely apologize for this mistake.