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IC students among Golden Apple Scholars inducted in virtual ceremony


Five Illinois College education students have been selected for the 2020 class of Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois.

Adam Reed ’22, Gillespie, Illinois
Ellie Abell ’22, Jacksonville, Illinois
Abigail Weisner ’22, Greenfield, Illinois 
Kyler Kantor ’23, Macon, Illinois
Zach Underwood ’24, Marion, Illinois

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois provides teacher preparation and tuition assistance for high school seniors, and first- and second-year college students. The nonprofit’s mission is to “inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need.”

The students selected for the program will gain high-quality experiences working with a diverse group of students, according to Todd Oberg, professor of mathematics and faculty advisor for IC’s Golden Apple program.

“These students have demonstrated the drive and achievement they will need as they excel as educators,” he said. “The experiences they will have thanks to the Golden Apple Scholars program will serve them well as they become teachers and go out to make a positive impact on their communities.”

Golden Apple scholars receive tuition support of up to $23,000, extensive classroom/work experience, academic support, job placement assistance and mentoring from award-winning teachers. To complete the program, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA, earn a bachelor's degree from a partner college and commit to teaching for five years in an Illinois school-of-need within seven years of graduation. 

In a virtual induction ceremony this summer, Ziggy Blackwell ’05, Golden Apple Scholars director of recruitment, said this year’s class of 300 scholars is a record for the program.

"Before I started the recruitment year and before I started visiting high schools and traveling to universities, the state of Illinois released a report of 1,800 teaching vacancies in the state of Illinois, many of these positions in schools of need,” Blackwell said during the virtual ceremony. “As a teacher preparation program, this call to action speaks directly to Golden Apple. We have made it our mission to address this shortage through the scholars program."

To learn more about the education program at Illinois College, visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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