Immanuel Lutheran Preschool to Help College-Bound Students
Immanuel Lutheran Preschool will award three $500 scholarships to former students.
Preschool may be a distant memory to most high school seniors, but one Mokena preschool is remembering its former pupils in a big way.
Next spring, Immanuel Lutheran Preschool, 10731 W. LaPorte Road, will award $500 scholarships to three of its qualifying college-bound alumni. The scholarships will be presented at the preschool's graduation ceremony and at the Lincoln-Way High School Scholarship Awards Day.
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church's Board of Christian Education and the preschool staff created the annual scholarship plan to "give back to the community," according to Lois Mayer, preschool director.
Two qualifying alumni will receive a one-time award of $500 for college tuition or books. A third $500 award, the Immanuel Lutheran Preschool Emily McCabe Music/Performing Arts Scholarship, will be given to a student who plans to major in performing arts.
The scholarship is named in memory of Emily McCabe, who died at age 8 in 2002. The Mokena girl loved music and theatric performance, said her mother, Meg McCabe. "We were just delighted when Mrs. Mayer called to tell us the scholarship would be named for Emily," she said.
McCabe and her husband, Tim, sent all four of their children to Immanuel Lutheran Preschool. "It was a wonderful, loving experience," she said.
Matt Howard, director of the Board of Christian Education, said the scholarships are a way to recognize the accomplishments of the students and teachers. "We are also celebrating all the great work and great children who have come through the doors in the past 35 years," Howard said.
Since Immanuel Lutheran Preschool was established in 1975, about 5,000 students have attended.
"We've been in the community for so long," Mayer said. "Now we're seeing second generation children."
The school opened with two teachers and nine children. Today, the school enrolls up to 200 children and employs 10 teachers and two assistants. It offers two-day, three-day and five-day programs.
Many former pupils have stayed in touch. One alumnus who had received a full scholarship to Northwestern University called to thank the staff for giving him good start in education. "It's the kind of phone call that any teacher in her lifetime just melts to hear," Mayer said.
Christian education is included in the curriculum, but the school is open to people of all faiths. Pupils do not have to be members of the church or Mokena residents. Mayer said many students are residents of towns such as Orland Park, Peotone, Manhattan and Matteson.
Howard, whose two sons attended the preschool, said his family was drawn to join the church after seeing the school in action. "It is just such a loving environment the teachers create," he said.
Teresa and John Gutkowski, whose 4-year-old daughter Allie presently attends, heard of the preschool through their Mokena neighbors. "I bet every other household on our street has sent their child to Immanuel Lutheran," she said.
Teresa Gutkowski said before enrolling, she and Allie were invited to tour the preschool and observe the classes. She said she was impressed with the school's "open arm policy," as all children are greeted with a hug.
"Allie just fell in love with the teachers here, and so did I," Gutkowski said.
Gutkowski said Allie has learned preschool skills like colors and shapes, and she is now learning to print and sound out words. "She's going to be well prepared for kindergarten," she said.
Scholarship applicants must provide a one to two-page double spaced biographical essay; a written letter from parents verifying enrollment at ILP; official transcripts; and two letters of support from people who have significantly influenced their lives. Applications are due by March 1, 2011, to the following address: Immanuel Lutheran Preschool, Attn: Lois Mayer, 10731 W. LaPorte Road, Mokena, Ill. 60448. Or, email to email@example.com.
Details and application forms are available from Lincoln-Way High Schools and from the church, (708) 479-5600.