Local P.E.O. Chapter OB-IL has announced the 2020 recipients of the Jan Bateman Willenborg Scholarship and the P.E.O. Star Scholarship.
The Philanthropic Educational Organization provides educational opportunities for women by offering scholarships, grants, awards and loans to help women enhance their lives through learning. Willenborg herself was a school volunteer in addition to serving in parent teacher organizations. She also taught religious education classes and was a Girl Scout leader.
The Jan Batemann Willenborg Scholarship was established in 2019 under the P.E.O. Foundation and awarded the first scholarship last year. She was a member and past president of the P.E.O. Chapter OB/Saint Charles, Illinois.
The longtime St. Charles resident was killed in a car crash in July 2016. The family knew how significant P.E.O. was to the St. Charles resident and her commitment to the mission of giving academic opportunities to women.
The memorial scholarship honors a graduating high school senior – a local, young woman who best exemplifies Jan’s spirit. This year, the family felt there were three outstanding young women who qualified for the scholarship and selected two individual $2,000 scholarships winners and an additional $1,000 special honorary scholarship recipient.
“The decision was too difficult to narrow down to just one recipient this year," Bob Willenborg, Jan’s husband, said in a news release. "We were impressed with all three of the applicants and their qualifications."
St. Charles East High School senior Alyssa Bebenek received a $2,000 scholarship and plans to attend University of Pennsylvania to study biochemistry. Her long-term goal is to pursue an MD/PhD focusing on neurodegenerative diseases.
Batavia High School graduate, Morgan Lasalle also received a $2,000 scholarship to study biology/pre-dental at the University of Miami in Ohio and plans to become an orthodontist. Natalie Henne, a St. Charles North High School graduate, received a $1,000 special honorary scholarship to study nursing at the University of Iowa.
In addition to high academic achievement, all three young women excelled in extra-curricular and volunteer activities at school and within their communities.
The $2,500 P.E.O. STAR Scholarship established in 2009 provides scholarships for an exceptional high school senior woman to attend college. This year’s recipient, St. Charles North High School graduate Tammy Quevedo, will be attending the University of Illinois this Fall with the hope of becoming a biomedical engineer and eventually obtaining her PhD.