Fifteen Oakton Students Awarded Wentcher Foundation Scholarships

Wentcher Foundation Logo 25th Anniversary

(July 6, 2022) – The Wentcher Foundation has awarded scholarships to 15 Oakton Community College students, including Richard Czajka, who received both a past Oakton Wentcher award and the upcoming Oakton Wentcher transfer award. The students were among 114 recipients, including:

  • Ten new 2024 Oakton Wentcher Scholars receiving renewable awards of up to $3,500 a year for two years to attend Oakton Community College: 
    • Hafsa Ansari, Niles North High School;
      Bansari Bodiwala, Maine East High School;
      Michelle Cartagena, Glenbrook South High School;
      Kamil Tadeusz Czarnic, Maine West High School;
      Grace Hanson, Maine West High School;
      Joyselyn Odjimer Herrera, Maine East High School;
      Ayaan Siddiqi, Niles West High School;
      Christopher Smoron, Glenbrook South High School;
      Sheba Elizabeth Thomas, Maine East High School; and
      Krystal Tiffany Viola, Glenbrook North High School.

  • Five new 2024 Oakton Wentcher Transfer Scholars receiving renewable awards of up to $10,000 a year for two years to complete their undergraduate degree at the college of their choice: 
    • Richard Czajka, Lake Forest College;
      John Fulea, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign;
      Parthvi Rana, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign;
      Julia Salabaj, University of Wyoming; and
      Kristina Scavelli, Elmhurst University.

  • Ninety-nine Chicago Public High School seniors who became the Class of 2026 CPS Wentcher Scholars, receiving renewable awards of up to $10,000 a year for four years to attend the college of their choice.

“Throughout their 25-year history, the Wentcher Foundation has been an incredible educational partner, and we are grateful for their generous support of Oakton students,” said Joianne L. Smith, Ph.D., Oakton Community College President. “Congratulations to the Wentcher Foundation on its 25th-anniversary milestone. We look forward to partnering for years to come to create equitable learning opportunities for students.”

The Wentcher Foundation identifies graduating seniors from Chicago Public Schools and incoming Oakton Community College students for renewable scholarship awards through an application and interview process. Selected Wentcher Scholars exemplify academic excellence, high character and demonstrate financial need.

This latest group of 114 Chicago-area students represented the largest class of Wentcher Scholars to date and a commitment of $3.8 million in financial aid over four years. 

“We are grateful for the bold vision of our founder, Ernest Wentcher,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, President of the Wentcher Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Ernie created and endowed this foundation for the benefit of Chicago area high school students, many of whom would not have gone to college without the benefit of Wentcher Scholarships. This announcement marks an exciting moment as we celebrate not only the launch of the t class of Wentcher Scholars, but also reaching $20 million of scholarship funding, the awarding of the 1,000th  Wentcher Scholarship, and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the incorporation of the Wentcher Foundation.” 

 The Wentcher Scholar Class of 2022 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer as part of an in-person presentation at the Wentcher Foundation’s 25th  Anniversary Celebration.